Almost half of Britons below retirement age had zero private pension savings in 2010-2012

11th September 2014


Some 45% of men and 49% of women in Great Britain did not have any private pension savings whatsoever in 2010-2012 according to official statistics.

The research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  found that the vast majority, at 95% of men and women working in accommodation and food service industries did not pay into a private pension in the UK in 2012.

In public administration, defence and social security only 7% of men and 9% of women did not pay into a private pension while a third of employees, nearly half of the self-employed and around 80% of men and women ‘not in work’ did not have any private pension savings in 2010-2012.

The ONS analysis also reported that 76% of women in routine occupations did not have a private pension during the period compared to 15% of women in higher managerial and professional occupations, representing a marked difference of 61 percentage points.

The average of the sum of property, physical and financial wealth was £160,000 for households with a private pension in Great Britain – nearly seven times larger than for those without a private pension at £23,900.

Commenting on the data, Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Whilst this analysis is based on pre-auto enrolment data, we know from elsewhere that many millions of working age adults are missing out on a pension as a result of gaps in the auto-enrolment programme. Auto-enrolment is providing part of the solution but we still need to do much more both to increase participation rates and to increase the contributions from those who are now members of a pension.”

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