Only half of part-time workers say they have a workplace pension, with more to be done to encourage engagement among employees

Research by Fidelity International has revealed that only half (50%) of part-time employees say they have a workplace pension. This is despite it being over four years since all eligible workers had to be automatically enrolled into their employers’ workplace pension scheme.

The eligibility earnings threshold at which workers qualify for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension currently stands at £10,000. While the Office for National Statistics recorded the average part-time annual pay in 2020 as well above this (£13,803), it seems that many part-time workers are still unaccounted for, or unaware of, the pension they are part of.

Women working part-time typically earn less (£13,468) than men (£14,908) yet are more likely (54%) to say they have a workplace pension compared to just 43% of men. However, this doesn’t necessarily equate to greater confidence in their financial futures. On average, women’s pension pots are around £25,000 less than men’s, with 79% of women working part-time doubtful they will have enough in their pension pots to fund their retirement compared to 65% of men.

Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International comments: “Auto-enrolment has helped millions of workers save towards their futures, but there is still a significant number of people who are falling between the cracks. Not enough part-time employees are engaged with, or even have, a workplace pension. More women than men work part-time, and while our research shows that women in part-time employment are more likely to have a workplace pension compared to men, they are still a fifth more likely to doubt whether they will have enough saved for retirement.”

“Part-time workers who are under the age of 22, are on zero-hour contracts and/or are earning less than £10k a year are not currently eligible for auto-enrolment, and many don’t know where to go to find out more about savings towards retirement. The result is that half (50%) of part-time workers don’t think they will have enough to fund their retirement, showing more needs to be done to build awareness of the state pension as well as the benefits of supplementing this with a workplace pension where possible.” Currie adds.

Alongside working full or part-time, Fidelity’s research shows that industry type also plays a role in whether employees have a workplace pension. Only 57% of all workers in the retail and leisure sectors said they have a workplace pension, followed by 62% of people working in the building and transport sectors – all industries where part-time workers are more prevalent.

Conversely, industries where workplace pension engagement is highest are finance education and healthcare.

Percentage of all employees by sector who say they have a workplace pension

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