Women trailing behind on retirement readiness – Aegon

Just 21 per cent of women workers believe they are on course to achieve their retirement income needs, according to an international survey from Aegon.

The report, entitled The New Social Contract: Achieving retirement equality for women, showed that UK women achieved a 5.8 on Aegon’s Retirement Readiness Index, above their 5.6 grade from 2014 but still classified as a “low score”.

This was on par with the global average for women but below UK male workers’ score of 6.6.

Over a third (34 per cent) of female respondents from the UK were on part-time contracts, compared with 15 per cent of men, while women’s median annual personal income was over $16,000 (£12,310) lower than men’s at $29,422 (£22,637).

Just 28 per cent of women held managerial positions, compared to 43 per cent of male respondents.

However, the participation rate of women in the labour force reached a record high of 71 per cent in 2018, while the gap between the employment rates for women and men was just under 9 per cent, its lowest rate since records began in 1971.

The report recommended broadening women’s access to workplace retirement schemes by extending plans to include those working part-time and zero-hours contracts.

Aegon Centre for Longevity and Retirement programme director, Mike Mansfield, said: “Women today are better educated entering the workforce than any other time in history. However, parity in education is not translating into equality in employment. This puts women at a disadvantage throughout their career and at risk when it comes to achieving retirement security.”

Women lagged behind men in the results of Aegon’s five fundamentals for retirement readiness, being less likely to be a habitual saver, have a written retirement plan, have a backup plan or correctly answer financial literacy questions.

However, 20 per cent of women exhibited healthy behaviours, compared with 17 per cent of men.

The report stated: “Great strides have been taken in the UK in terms of the number of women entering the workforce, but further steps are still necessary to ensure that when in the workforce, women have the financial means and career progression opportunities to allow for sufficient retirement preparedness.”

The Aegon report includes responses from 16,000 workers and retirees in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

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