Greater recognition of savings barriers needed to address gender pensions gap

Pension providers have been urged to invest in sex-disaggregated data sets, after research from PensionBee suggested that men may be underestimating the impact of the social and economic pressures facing women on the gender pensions gap.

According to the provider, the UK gender pensions gap is currently 38 per cent on average, rising to nearly 60 per cent in some regions, with several barriers limiting the ability to save for retirement for many women.

For instance, the research found that around 66 per cent of women believe that women's higher share of care responsibilities contributed to their early retirement, while just 7 per cent disagreed with this sentiment.

However, the findings suggested that men may be underestimating the impact of these barriers, with just 55 per cent of men agreeing that the higher share of care responsibilities facing women contributes to early retirement, while 19 per cent disagreed with this sentiment.

Furthermore, 18 per cent of men failed to recognise the impact difficult workplace environments and cultures can have on women’s decisions to retire early, compared to 10 per cent of women.

Women also identified concerns around finding work in older age, with around 29 per cent of women strongly agreeing that older women experience difficulties finding suitable work, increasing to 36 per cent amongst women over 50.

This compared with just 15 per cent of male respondents, and 11 per cent of male respondents over 50.

In light of the findings, PensionBee has emphasised the need to recognise the issues and barriers facing women, to ensure that future saving systems and incentives are designed with female experiences in mind.

In particular, the provider argued that businesses and lawmakers should invest in building sex-disaggregated data sets.

It also stressed the need for diverse representation across those teams implementing solutions, warning that, currently, just 30 per cent of the UK’s biggest pension providers have women in the top job.

PensionBee chief technology officer, Jonathan Lister Parsons, commented: “Our survey shines a light on the multifaceted and systemic challenges faced by women, as well as the huge disconnect between how men and women perceive these barriers.

“Women have many allies, however, real progress cannot be made if the challenges faced by this gender are routinely underrated and minimised by men who typically hold the positions of power needed to effect lasting change - from business leaders to policymakers.

“If we are to improve savings rates among women and eradicate the gender pension gap once and for all, it is essential that all statistics are disaggregated by sex so the impact on women is fully visible.

"As men we so often assume that what is experienced by our sex is universal, and that needs to end today.”

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