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The rise of the job hoppers: Millennials could each have five pensions on average as employer switches become more common

  • Workers aged 18-34 have already had over five employers each on average despite being less than halfway through their careers, new AJ Bell research reveals
  • Assuming someone aged 26 left university at 21 and had five employers subsequently, this implies a job switch every 12 months
  • By contrast, those aged 55 and over – who have worked more than two decades longer – had six employers on average
  • This suggests younger people are changing employer more frequently – potentially building up a new retirement pot each time
  • The number of ‘deferred’ pension pots in the UK is expected to surge from around 8 million in 2020 to 27 million in 2035 (20200723-deferred-members-final-report-for-the-website.pdf (pensionspolicyinstitute.org.uk))
  • Pensions Dashboards should make it easier for savers to see all their pensions in one place online and potentially consolidate with a single provider
  • Combining pensions is simple and could come with a string of benefits – but only 15% of people say they’ve done it
  • Pension transfer checklist

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, comments:

“While Baby Boomers born post-World War II might have had only one or two employers in their career – potentially offering generous guaranteed defined benefit (DB) pensions – the younger workforce is increasingly transient.

“In fact, the average Millennial – who might be less than halfway through their career – is likely to have changed employer five times already.

“With further job changes inevitable over the coming decades as careers progress, the average number of jobs younger people have throughout their working lives is set to hit double figures.

“Given automatic enrolment requires employers to offer a workplace pension to all eligible employees, it is increasingly likely people will have retirement pots scattered across various providers.

“Pensions Dashboards should eventually make life easier by allowing savers to view all their pensions in one place, online. However, it will still be up to individuals to take the bull by the horns and combine their pensions with a single provider.”

How to switch to a new provider

“The good news is that, in most cases, switching to a new provider should be fairly straightforward.

“You can open a SIPP online in as little as 10 minutes and, once you’ve done that, all you’ll need to do is enter the details of the scheme or schemes you want to transfer. The provider you are moving your money to should then do all the legwork.”

If you’re having trouble tracking down your old pension, the Government’s free Pension Tracing Service may be able to help. Visit www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension or call 0345 6002 537 for more information.

Five reasons savers consolidate their pensions

1) Easier to manage

“There are plenty of good reasons to consolidate your pensions but only 15% of people have done this.

“Of those who have combined their retirement pots, the vast majority (61%) said the primary reason was ease of management.

“This is no surprise as managing lots of pensions with different providers and different online log-ins is, frankly, a bit of a nightmare.”

2) Lower charges

“There are other benefits to consolidating, particularly if you have money saved in older pensions which tend to have higher charges. Savers can cut their charges and boost their pensions – potentially significantly – by switching to a modern, lower-cost provider. The impact of this can be huge over the long-term.

“Take someone with a £50,000 pension pot who pays 1.5% in total charges and enjoys 4% investment growth per year. After 30 years, their fund could be worth around £105,000.

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