84% of pension schemes see need for greater diversity

The majority (84 per cent) of pension schemes agree that there needs to be more diversity in the sector, despite almost half (48 per cent) of schemes having no specific strategy around diversity or inclusion, according to industry research.

The survey, from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), revealed that 91 per cent of pension schemes believed that greater diversity and inclusion in the pensions industry could improve decision-making and help attract and retain talent.

In addition to this, 89 per cent of schemes surveyed thought that improved diversity and inclusion would improve the representation of members’ interests.

However, it also found mixed views as to the current diversity of pension trustee boards, with 28 per cent stating that it was good, 31 per cent describing it as poor, and 35 per cent stating that it was average.

In particular, it found that whilst age, gender and social background are currently seen to be better represented, disability and ethnicity are thought to be the least well represented.

Although, it clarified that there are issues even amongst those better represented groups, such as gender, with a “substantial number” of schemes stating that they are not very well represented (28 per cent) or not at all represented (10 per cent).

Considering this, 65 per cent of schemes stated that the make-up of the board of pension trustees needs to be more diverse, with 82 per cent anticipating that this will help with innovation, and 64 per cent expecting this to more closely reflect their membership.

However, almost half (48 per cent) of schemes stated that they had no specific strategic objectives around diversity or inclusion, with the “vast majority” of this subset unsure when they will put a plan in place.

Commenting on the findings, PLSA chief executive, Julian Mund, said: “Our survey shows that the pensions industry recognises that it needs to do much more to improve diversity and inclusion and are positive about the benefits for schemes and members of doing so – but there’s a long way still to go.

“It’s vital that pension schemes have the right people in place throughout the organisation and to do that you need a wide range of skills, backgrounds and outlooks to ensure all members interests are at the heart of decision-making processes.”

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