Workplace pension participation levels hits new high

Record volumes of eligible employees saved into a workplace pension last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Workers who are aged between 22 and state pension age, and earning more than £10,000 a year are eligible for a workplace pension scheme.

The ONS estimates a record 32.93 million people were in employment at the end of December 2019, 336,000 higher than the previous year.

In 2019, 77% of eligible employees saved into a workplace pension - the highest membership rate since comparable records began in 1997.

When the Government launched auto-enrolment back in October 2012, just 47% of those eligible saved into workplace pensions.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said:

"Making pension saving the norm is an amazing achievement in such a short time."

The gender gap in pension participation rates disappeared in the public sector last year, although work remains to be done in the private sector.

A private-sector pension participation imbalance still exists, with more men (77%) having a workplace pension than women (69%).

The earnings trigger for 2020/21 is frozen and the ONS estimates 80,000 more workers will be eligible for the scheme, 60,000 of whom will be women.

Smith added:

"Many more women will be able to benefit from an employer pension contribution for the first time.

"However, the scale of the numbers shines the spotlight on the gender imbalance when it comes to pension saving via the workplace."

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