Women need to work extra 19 years to close pensions gender gap, report says

Credit PA Images
Credit: PA

Women would need to work an extra 19 years to retire with the same pension savings as men typically, according to a report published on Wednesday

Women retire on average with pension savings of £69,000, compared with £205,000 for men, the research by pensions provider NOW: Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) found.

Career gaps, caring responsibilities, childcare costs, and lower earnings contribute to women often having less money saved for retirement than men.

As automatic enrolment into workplace pensions starts at the age of 22, the 19-year gender pension gap means a girl would need to start saving for retirement from three years old in order to have kept up with men by retirement age, researchers suggest.

But women often live longer than men, meaning their retirement pots also need to last for longer.

NOW: Pensions said the £10,000 earnings trigger for people to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension should be removed.

The research used various sources of data, including Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.

A government spokesperson described automatic enrolment as a "success" which "has transformed the UK pensions landscape and brought millions of women into pension saving for the very first time."

They added that the government plans to expand the scheme "by abolishing the lower earnings limit for contributions and reducing the age for being automatically enrolled to 18 years old."

“Alongside this, our expansion of free childcare in England means working families could save an average of £6,500 per child per year, and we recently published the first official measure of the gender pensions gap, which will help track the collective efforts of government, industry and employers to close it.”

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Before the introduction of automatic enrolment in 2012, just 55% of eligible employees saved into a workplace pension, but by 2021 this had risen to 88%, the government has previously said.

Jackie Leiper, managing director at Scottish Widows, said: “Far more needs to be done to tackle the gender pension gap – our research says that right now, more than a third of women are not on track for even a minimum retirement lifestyle.

“Action must focus on putting the right measures in place for women to be able to stay in high-quality employment whilst raising families, including improving access and funding for childcare.

“Pensions policy can also play a crucial role in helping lower-income women save. Without this, women in their 20s and 30s today could still be stuck in the pensions gap, left to face a real and unfair struggle in retirement.”

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