AE increases female pension participation by 70%

There are around 70 per cent more women saving into workplace pension schemes than before the introduction of auto-enrolment (AE), Equiniti has revealed.

Its analysis of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics found that 88 per cent of eligible women were now participating in a scheme, up from 59 per cent in 2012.

This brings the total figure up to 8.7 million women, and increase of 3.6 million in seven years.

AE has significantly increased the number of women on lower incomes saving into workplace schemes. Before its introduction, just 42 per cent of women earning between £10,000 and £20,000 were paying into a scheme, this has now risen to 83 per cent.

Equiniti propositions and solutions director, Chris Connelly, praised AE's impact on those with below average incomes,. He said: “One of the most striking features of AE’s success is how it has managed to get those on lower earnings, including those just starting out in the world of work, into pensions with a low opt-out rate.”

Furthermore, the number of women earning over £30,000 that are saving into a pension has risen from 61 per cent to 89 per cent.

This equates to around 3 million more women participating in schemes, with the proportion of women working part-time in the private sector paying into a workplace pension more than doubling from just over 36 per cent to 80 per cent.

However, Connelly warned that there was still work to be done in ensuring equality between men and women. He commented: “Women are still reaching retirement with significantly less in their pot than men for a number of factors such as, lower average incomes and the unequal burden of care responsibilities for both children and elderly relatives.

“The next target is encouraging women to choose against opting out as the proportion of income they invest increases, and encourage them to take advantage of employer contributions by putting more of their own salary in.

“Even small increases should go a long way to ensuring they have a far healthier pot of money by the time they are reaching retirement age.

“However, pension policy and strategy cannot do this on its own. It remains vitally important to address the whole welfare agenda, including access to affordable childcare, flexible working for parents and managing the costs of long-term care in later life.”

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