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More young people saving thanks to automatic enrolment

Ref: PN19-41

Issued: Thursday 24 October 2019

More young people in their twenties are now saving into a workplace pension thanks to the success of automatic enrolment.

The finding is included in a report published today by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) which examines the impact of automatic enrolment so far, and the challenges ahead.

The annual commentary and analysis report (PDF, 2.2MB, 41 pages) also shows the gender gap in pensions saving has been significantly reduced with as many women as men now saving into a workplace pension.

The report also shows there has been an increase in saving among employees of small and micro businesses compared to before the start of the reforms. In addition, workplace saving among non-eligible staff has nearly doubled with numbers of staff asking their employer to join a scheme increasing from 16% in 2012/13 to 30% in 2017/18.

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “It’s great to see a whole new generation of workers in big and small businesses putting money away and planning for a more secure future. The progress we’ve made towards eliminating the gender gap in pension saving is hugely encouraging.

“Automatic enrolment has transformed pension saving and boosted the retirement prospects of millions of people, and we’ll make sure that even more can benefit from workplace pensions.”

Director of Automatic Enrolment at TPR Darren Ryder said: “It’s terrific that the chance to save has been opened up to millions more people who may not have otherwise set up a pension. In years to come, young people in their twenties who started saving today will reap the reward of a retirement they can look forward to.

“When taking on a job, people now expect a pension. Even more encouraging is that there has been a rise in the number of people who, although are not eligible to be automatically enrolled, are asking to join a scheme. This signifies a huge cultural shift.

“To continue to build on the success so far, we want people to get to know their pension and consider whether they are saving enough for the retirement they want.”

The report, which has been published annually since the start of automatic enrolment in 2012, is the seventh and final publication.

It brings together analysis from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and TPR and highlights include:

  • Between the introduction of the reforms in 2012 and April 2018, the overall proportion of eligible staff saving into a workplace pension increased from 55% to 87%.
  • The annual amount saved by eligible savers was £90.4 billion in 2018 - an increase of £16.8 billion on the total amount saved in 2012, and an increase of £7 billion over 2017.
  • The largest increases in participation have been seen amongst eligible employees in the youngest age groups. In the private sector, the largest increase was seen in 22 to 29 year olds - increasing from 24% in 2012 to 84% in 2018.
  • In 2018 participation levels increased to 85% for both male and female eligible employees in the private sector. Before 2012 there was a higher proportion of male employees participating in workplace pensions.
  • Pension scheme participation increased by 12 percentage points for small employers and 20 percentage points for micro employers between 2017 and 2018.
  • Next summer there will be a peak in employers reaching their re-enrolment dates - with around 140,000 small and micro employers required to put staff who opted out, back into a pension.
  • Between April 2018 and March 2019, TPR used its formal powers 128,807 times compared to 102,497 times the previous year.

Also published today is TPR's latest ongoing duties survey (PDF, 2.8MB, 78 pages) which shows that the majority of employers of all sizes are aware of their ongoing duties and are confident they are carrying them out correctly. Most employers said they found their ongoing duties easier to complete than they initially expected and the entire re-enrolment process took most small and micro employers no more than two hours of their staff’s time.

Notes to editors

TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Ciara Bridge-Butler

Media Officer (AE)
01273 662018

Matt Adams

Senior Media and Parliamentary Manager
01273 662086

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