Workplace pension participation increases by 22 percentage points since AE introduction

Participation in workplace pension schemes has increased to 71 per cent, up from 49 per cent, since the introduction of automatic enrolment (AE) in October 2012.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) recent study, the Family Resources Survey, the number of employees enrolled in an occupational pension scheme increased by 22 percentage points between 2012/13 and 2017/18.

The amount of working age people in pension schemes also rose, to 49 per cent.

However, the participation rate for self-employed people, who are not eligible for AE, fell from 19 per cent in 2012/13 to 16 per cent in 2017/18.

The amount of self-employed workers enrolled in a pension scheme fell to 16 per cent in 2014/15 and “has remained fairly steady since”.

The DWP’s survey also revealed that 15 per cent of household income came from state support, including the state pension and tax credits, while eight per cent came from private pensions, which included all non-state pensions, including workplace and personal pensions.

It also highlighted regional differences in the amount of income received from non-state pensions.

The report stated: “Wales had the highest percentage of income from non-state pensions (11 per cent) with London having the lowest (four per cent). These regional differences are likely to be associated with demographic and economic variations between regions.”

There was also a slight discrepancy between male and female pension participation. The DWP found that 51 per cent of all working age men were contributing to a pension compared to 47 per cent of working age women.

Participation rates in employer-sponsored schemes were slighter higher for men, at 47 per cent, than for women, which was 45 per cent. Participation in individual pension schemes was also lower for women (four per cent) compared with men (seven per cent).

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