Pensions - Articles - Labour market figures reveal pension challenge facing women

Steven Cameron, Pensions director at Aegon comments on the release of the UK’s Labour Market figures.

 “The headline figures show a positive trend in the UK labour market. Average weekly earnings including bonuses have increased by 3.4% for the three months to November compared to the previous year and the employment rate has increased to 75.8% for the same period, the highest since estimates began. Significantly for workers, this means that wage growth is 1.2% above price inflation, increasing the purchasing power of their earnings. 

 “Whilst it is good to see the proportion of women in employment is close to a record high at 71.2% and closing the gap compared to men, today’s figures show there are still significant differences within the labour force. Of the 8.4 million part-time employees in the UK nearly three quarters of these are women and although there are a number of reasons for this, it’s an influencing factor in the pension savings gap that exists between genders. Aegon research has previously found that by the time women reach the age of 50, they have only half the pension savings compared to their male counterparts*. If the number of women in part-time employment continues to far outweigh that of males, there’s a real risk that this gap may continue or even get worse.

 “Another significant figure in today’s release is the rising proportion of self-employed workers in the labour market. Comparing the estimates for employees and self-employees for the three months to November to those of a year earlier show the number in self-employment rose by 1.67% while the number in employment rose by 1.06%. The self-employed are a growing part of the employment landscape but do not benefit from being automatically into workplace pension so risk lagging behind in their pension provision in retirement. It is crucial, therefore, that we find ways to make pensions more attractive to this large proportion of the workforce.”

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