Women's pension savings still 'way behind' those of men

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Women's pension savings still 'way behind' those of men
Women are playing catch-up with their pensions, ONS and Handelsbanken figures have claimed. (Pexels/Andrew

Women are still heavily reliant on the state pension, and with far lower personal or workplace pension pots than men, leading to a significant gender pension gap, particularly for women aged 75 and above.

These are the stark figures on pension savings from both the Department of Work and Pensions and a study carried out by Handelsbanken Wealth and Asset Management among 4,000 UK adults.

According to the DWP, women's overall average income from the state pension was materially lower, at just £232 per week compared to £254 for single males.

The Handelsbanken survey revealed that 26 per cent - over a quarter of UK women - have no formal pension savings at all.

Christine Ross, head of Private Office (North) & client director at Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management, said: “Women on average continue to remain a long way behind men in pension savings, with the problem at its most acute among older generations who are closer to retirement."

Handelsbanken's study showed:

  • 26 per cent of women have no formal pension savings at all, compared to just 16 per cent of men
  • Only 23 per cent of women surveyed stated they are confident that they will be able to retire comfortably, with over a third (35%) believing they won’t be able to
  • Male respondents’ pension pots were found to be significantly higher, averaging at £142,234
  • Women’s pension pots came in at just over a third of this, at an average of £51,384

This comes as the latest data from the DWP revealed that women are far more likely than men to be solely reliant on the state pension for their retirement needs.

According to the DWP's Households Below Average Income: an analysis of the UK income distribution report, there was an "increase in material deprivation was recorded for pensioners, and in the measures of combined low income and material deprivation for both children and working-age adults", with benefits 

The data said state pension and other benefits represented 56 per cent of single pensioners’ incomes in retirement and 38 per cent for pensioner couples in 2021-22.

But this rises to 61 per cent for single female pensioners aged 75 and above.

As reported by FTAdviser, the below-inflation uprating to the state pensions will have had a disproportionate effect on women. 

After decades of gender disparity, it’s encouraging to finally see clear evidence of change.Christine Ross, Handelsbanken

According to Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter: “This lower uplift was felt even more keenly by female pensioners, who on average were more heavily reliant on benefit income – that includes the state pension – than male counterparts.