How to bridge the pension gender gap

  • To ascertain how big the pensions gender gap is.
  • To understand how to use technology and other means to help close the gap.
  • To be able to explain different pension and investment outcomes to clients.
How to bridge the pension gender gap

The fact there is a gender pensions gap in the UK is widely known.

Over the years there have been various reports showing that women are less likely to be paying in to a personal pension and also tend to be contributing less to workplace pensions.

Indeed, a report from the Chartered Insurance Institute titled ‘Risk, exposure and resilience to risk in Britain today’ stated that the average man retires with a pension pot five times higher than the average woman.

The reasons behind this are multiple; with factors at play including the gender pay gap, pay inequality, and the number of women in part-time roles or doing multiple jobs. Yet, there are other smaller issues here which government, industry and advisers could potentially help tackle. 

Lack of knowledge and engagement

Our State of Retirement research last year revealed more about this issue, with knowledge, understanding and confidence all lower among women.

Alongside this, they were less likely to plan to see a financial adviser, which will only compound the issue further as we know that those taking advice are more likely to get a better deal in retirement. 

Our research found that only one in 10 (11 per cent) women were very familiar with the pension freedoms, compared to a quarter of men (25 per cent), and women were almost twice as likely to say they hadn’t heard about pension freedoms at all (20 per cent compared to 12 per cent).

Women were also far less likely than men to say they spent any time thinking about their pension or planning for retirement last year. Over half (56 per cent) of women hadn’t thought about retirement at all in the last 12 months, compared to 40 per cent of men.

Women were also less aware of what they have saved for retirement, with seven in 10 (70 per cent) saying they have no idea what pension savings they had, compared to half (50 per cent) of men. 

This lack of awareness and planning appears to impact how women view retirement, with women less likely to say they feel relaxed about retirement (42 per cent compared to 53 per cent of men) and just a quarter (25 per cent) say they feel well equipped to retire, compared to 35 per cent of men.

Women are also far less likely to say they feel confident about coping financially once they have stopped working; just one in three (29 per cent) women feel this, compared to over four in 10 (43 per cent) men.

Low take up of advice

You’d think that this lack of confidence may lead to women being more likely to seek help with their retirement planning, but low take up of advice is even more prominent among women.