Automatic enrolment  

DWP stats show auto-enrolment gets more women saving

DWP stats show auto-enrolment gets more women saving

The percentage of women saving into a defined contribution (DC) workplace pension scheme has increased from 40 per cent in 2012 to 73 per cent in 2016, figures from the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) have revealed.

According to the government, these figures show workplace pension participation among men and women across the UK is now equal for the very first time.

Men had a corresponding increase from 43 per cent to 73 per cent over the same period.

There are now more than nine million people auto-enrolled in a workplace pension scheme, according to figures from The Pensions Regulator.

By later this year, it is estimated that 3.6 million women will be newly saving or saving more as a result of auto-enrolment, the DWP stated.

Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, said: "Thanks to automatic enrolment, future generations of women will enjoy the same retirement provision as men and will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of a good private income."

The DWP published its review of auto-enrolment on 18 December, where it announced that the minimum age for workers to be included into workplace pension schemes will be reduced from 22 to 18-years-old, and it will change the way pension contributions are calculated by mid-2020s.

Mr Opperman said: "This will significantly improve incentives for many of the 632,000 women with multiple jobs, such as mothers fitting work around childcare, and people with caring responsibilities."

Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said while it is great news that a bigger percentage of women are now in workplace pensions, it is vital that the government does not become complacent.

He said: "On average, women will still end up with much smaller pensions than men. This is because they still earn less on average, they are more likely to work for firms who are contributing at the legal minimum, and they are more likely to spend periods out of paid work with caring responsibilities when little or nothing is going into their pensions. 

"Much more needs to be done to put women on a level playing field when it comes to workplace pensions."

maria.espadinha@ft.com