Phoenix Group  

Quarter of workers unaware of workplace pension contributions

Quarter of workers unaware of workplace pension contributions

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of UK workers do not know how much they contribute to their workplace pension each month, according to new research commissioned by Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group.

The research found that while 74 per cent said they know how much they pay monthly into their workplace pension scheme as a percentage of their salary, certain demographics are less knowledgeable about their contributions. 

Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of male workers know the amount they contribute, but this falls to just 71 per cent among females. 

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In a similar pattern, 81 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds know how much they pay in each month, whereas 71 per cent of 35 to 54 year olds and 69 per cent of over 55s said the same.

Jenny Holt, managing director for customer savings and investments at Standard Life said: “Since it was introduced 10 years ago, auto-enrolment has embedded a savings ethos in UK workplaces, and normalised pension saving. 

“It has created a culture where close to 80 per cent of workers are now automatically saving into a pension and putting money away for retirement each month, compared to just 47 per cent back in 2012, and this is hugely positive.”

However, she argued that there is still room for improvement, particularly in terms of improving knowledge and engagement levels across all demographics.

“Employers ensuring their communications around retirement savings are regular, targeted and relevant is a great way to boost engagement and supporting employees with wider financial wellbeing can have a knock-on effect on preparedness for retirement,” she said.

The research revealed that those with lower incomes are also less aware of the amount that they pay into their workplace pension. 

Among those with an income of between £10,001 and £20,000 a year, only 55 per cent said they know how much they pay on a monthly basis as a percentage of their salary. 

However, this rises to 75 per cent among those with an income of between £20,001 and £30,000 a year.

Holt said: “With higher levels of engagement and understanding, more people can make informed decisions around how much they want to contribute and are fully aware of options they have. 

“The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association are running the UK’s first ever Pensions Engagement Season this autumn and winter, which includes a series of initiatives aimed at making pensions more accessible and understandable for savers. The campaign could be a great tool for employers to kick start their engagement strategies.”

Contribution levels

October marks the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of auto-enrolment but Standard Life said there is still work to be done to ensure workers are informed enough to make the most of the scheme, if they are in a position to do so. 

One in five (19 per cent) workers said they did not know they could increase their personal contributions.

Meanwhile, three in 10 (29 per cent) said they currently pay more than the minimum amount required into their workplace pension. 

Two in five (43 per cent) pay in the minimum amount while 13 per cent pay the amount their employer recommends.