As part of Pensions Awareness Week 2023, we’ve taken a look at some of the latest insight into pensions.
Howden Group has shared its research into workplace pensions and benefits.
The company gathered feedback from 500 SME employers and 500 SME employees from across various industries in order to shed light on areas that could impact the financial wellbeing of both businesses and employees.
Mark Fosh, Executive Director SME, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, said, “Financial stress is on the up and more employers are taking steps to look after their employees’ wellbeing, including providing them with better workplace pensions and salary sacrifice options.
“Looking after employees with great financial wellbeing plans is good for business.”
According to Howden’s research, workplace pensions are considered the most valuable benefit by employees, however, they are often not given the importance they deserve in terms of communication and engagement.
Quilter is encouraging individuals to review their employer's pension benefits. Their research reveals that having a minimum employer pension contribution of only 3% could result in a significant shortfall of £100,000 over a UK worker's entire career when compared to someone enrolled in an 8% employer pension scheme.
Jon Greer, Quilter’s Head of Retirement Policy, said, “We tend to focus on our salary and what we take home each month, but this doesn’t tell the full story.
“There is a huge difference between an employer paying the minimum pension contribution compared to one with a more generous scheme.
“Not only can this make a significant difference to your total remuneration package over the course of a year, and in the longer term your working life, but it can also have a real impact on your quality of life in retirement too.
“Arguments over pay have consistently made the headlines in the last couple of years as workers fought for higher increases to help ease the burden of the cost-of-living crisis. While this is important, it is also vital not to forget your pension pot.
“If a young person says to me they are going for a job interview, I always recommend they check what the employer will pay into their pension as it is so valuable in the longer term, and it is rarely something they have considered focusing on.”
Phoenix Insights' analysis has unveiled that a significant portion of UK adults lack confidence in their understanding of pensions, with 58% falling into this category. A substantial 28% of savers admit to having minimal or no knowledge about pensions, while merely 11% consider themselves well-informed.
This research encompassed over 3,000 pre-retirement adults and unveiled gender-related differences in pensions knowledge. Men were 1.4 times more likely than women to claim a good understanding of pensions, but a notable 33% of women and 34% of men confessed to knowing little or nothing about this subject.
Furthermore, when examining income levels, striking disparities in knowledge emerged. Among respondents in the highest income bracket, a substantial 64% possessed reasonable to good knowledge of pensions, while only 30% in the lowest income bracket could make the same claim.
Patrick Thomson, Phoenix Group’s Head of Research and Policy, said, “We need to close this gap so people aren’t disadvantaged when it comes to having the knowledge that allows them to make better financial decisions for their future.
“Speaking to friends and family is a good way to engage with pension topics, but people need to be aware that these are informal sources of information. Phoenix Group’s most recent brand campaign encouraged people to start talking more about how they can make the most of having a much longer life than previous generations.
““In order to boost understanding and pensions engagement, Phoenix Insights is urging the Government to commit to a clear timeline to reviewing the current boundary between regulated advice and guidance, so that a larger proportion of the population can access reliable and tailored financial support.”
“Let’s debunk the myth that pensions are only a concern for those nearing retirement age by engaging people with more frequent, simple and varied communications throughout their life course.”
Sarah Ellis, Operations Director at Astute, said, "At Astute, we have recently reviewed our pension offering to ensure we are supporting our employees with understanding more about their pension investments.
“Having engaged with an independent financial advisor, employees will now have the opportunity to receive bespoke pension advice, plus additional financial wellbeing support to help with decisions in the future.
“While particularly important in the current climate, it also adds value to our benefits offering and demonstrates our commitment to helping employees gain a greater understanding of their finances."
To find out more about the benefits on offer at Astute, visit our Benefits & Rewards page.
We are also currently hiring, to find out more about working at Astute as a Recruitment Consultant, view the job description here.