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£47,000 shortfall in employer pension contributions for women

Swindon, February 22, 2017

  • Employer contributions are lower for women’s pensions than men: a result of the gender pay gap, career breaks for women and men working in larger businesses
  • This could result in a £47,000 shortfall for women by the end of their working life
  • Since 2013, women have received, on average, 1% of their salary less in employer pension contributions each year when compared to men
  • The inaugural Zurich Workplace Savings Barometer analysed over 250,000 pension plans.

There is a ‘gap’ between the amount that men and women receive in employer pensions contributions, which if left unaddressed could result in a shortfall of £47,000 by the end of a woman’s working life, according to the inaugural Zurich Workplace Savings Barometer.

Last year, on average, men under the age of 35 received £217 more in employer pension contributions than females of the same age. Furthermore, between 2013 and 2016, men have benefited from pension contributions of 7.8% of salary each year from their employers compared with 7.0% for women.

This difference meant that the value of the employer pension contribution was £3,495 for men and £2,489 for women – a difference of over £1,000 over the four year period. With wage growth taken into account, this difference could amount to a shortfall for women of £46,689 by the end of a working life*. The analysis of over 250,000 pension plans, breaking down by age, gender, employee and member contributions alongside income, is one of the largest ever studies of workplace savings.

The findings lift the lid on three factors contributing to the shortfall in women’s pension pots: the gender pay gap leads to a lower value of employer contribution as a percentage of salary, women are still more likely to take career breaks to raise a family and work flexibly, and men typically work in sectors with more established, or more generous pension schemes. 

Rose St Louis of Zurich Insurance, commented, "The impact of the gender pay gap on women’s pension pots is no secret, but this difference in the contributions that they receive from their employer presents a serious – and growing – problem. The ‘triple effect’ of smaller salaries, career breaks for women and lower contribution rates needs to be addressed: we can’t ignore a £47,000 shortfall. Workplace engagement and guidance has a central role to play in helping women make the most of their saving potential while they are working full time".  

There were also more men in the UK-wide analysis (154,999 vs. 95,262 women), indicating that, even before the gap in salaries and contributions levels has an effect, there are significantly more men receiving pension contributions in the first place. This is likely to be impacted by the auto enrolment eligibility rules which mean that employees earning less than £10,000 per annum are not automatically enrolled into their workplace scheme.

To help consumers prepare for the future and achieve the lifestyle they want in retirement, Zurich has launched a series of new tools to help people imagine, plan and manage their own financial well-being. To access these go to: www.zurich.co.uk/futureyou/pensions.

Gap between male and female employer contributions by age in 2016
Under 35 £217
34-44 £594
45-54 £1,287
55-64 £1,680
                  

 -END-

 * Wage growth of 0.025, and a working life of 42 years

 

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Media contacts

Chris Johnson
Media Relations Manager
Zurich UK
Mobile: 07812265245
Email: chris.1.johnson@uk.zurich.com
Twitter: @zurichukmedia