Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, comments on the latest ONS data, analysed by the consultancy Public First, which shows a marked increase in the number of women, especially mothers, taking up full-time professional roles, helping to close the gender pensions gap.
She said: “The most recent ONS data shows that more women have taken up full-time professional roles since the pandemic. The overall data shows the biggest increase in those entering traditional office work professions, which can now be carried out at home or on a hybrid basis, such as finance and IT, but the figures are even more pronounced for mothers returning to full-time professional roles. This may be partly driven by the cost-of-living crisis, but working flexibly, with remote working, tends to be attractive to women as it can help them to juggle work and caring commitments, all while keeping them in the workforce.
“This is a positive step towards closing the gender pensions pay gap. The fact that more women are now working full-time means that they will be earning more, and as employer and employee contributions are based on salary, higher pension contributions will be paid into their pensions. Minimising pension pauses and working longer hours, and paying pension contributions, means higher incomes after work.
“Higher wages, together with working full-time, also means that more women will be eligible to be auto-enrolled into their employer’s workplace pension scheme, benefiting from an employer pension contribution. The hope is that fewer women will be excluded from auto-enrolment as they’ll earn above £10,000 a year in a single job.”