Majority of women looking for more employer pension engagement

More than half (54 per cent) of women would like their employer to engage with them more on their workplace pension, a new report from Phoenix Insights has revealed.

The report, Caught in a Gap: The Role of Employers in Enabling Women to Build Better Pensions, conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), found that just 34 per cent of working women consider the impact of reducing their hours on workplace pension contributions, compared to nearly two thirds of men (62 per cent).

Women were keen for more support however, as the report also found that 76 per cent of women think it should be a legal requirement for employers to inform employees about how monthly pensions contributions change when reducing working hours.

Elsewhere in the report, it was revealed that nearly three-fifths of respondents (62 per cent) are worried they will not be able to save enough for retirement due to the current economic environment.

In addition to this, the report found that while women contribute a similar percentage of their salary (6 per cent) as men, on average, women contribute £102 per month less than men to their workplace pension, at £165 per month compared to £246.

Women were also found to be three times as likely to fall under the £10,000 automatic enrolment threshold than men (35 per cent vs 11 per cent), although many were not aware of the impact this would have on their pension.

Indeed, recent polling from the provider revealed that less than half (47 per cent) knew they would not qualify for a workplace pension if they earnt less than £10,000, which Phoenix Group highlighted as further demonstration of the need to provide better information.

Phoenix Insights director, Catherine Foot, commented: “Many factors can affect women’s pension contributions, but from our research we know it can be exacerbated by life stages that can impact women’s earning power – such as taking time out to look after children, the menopause or long-term health conditions.

“It is vital for employers to step up and support women throughout their lives to make sure they are informed, provide nudges to engage, and offer flexibility at every opportunity.

“We have partnered with IES to create five key recommendations that we hope employers can take away to enact real change – from proactively looking to re-enroll people who have opted out of their pension every year instead of three, flexible working from an employee’s first day, and putting women’s health at the heart of the workplace through inclusive health policies.

“We were set up as a think tank with a mission to transform the way society responds to the possibilities of longer lives - helping to close the gender pension gap and enabling women to succeed in creating better financial futures to and through retirement is a key part of that.”

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