More to workplace savings than just a pension – Smarterly

Seventy-three per cent of employers believe that workplace savings should no longer just be focused around pensions, according to new research from Smarterly.

The financial services firm suggested that employers are recognising pensions alone are no longer enough to support the financial wellbeing of their employees, and that they need to think of the wider workplace savings environment – which includes having more accessible savings.

The new research – which considered the views of 250 HR professionals working in businesses with a workforce greater than 300 employees – found that 88.2% of senior HR and benefits professionals indicated it is their responsibility to be providing employees with support on all aspects of financial wellbeing.

Only 21.9% of companies, however, suggested they offer any kind of workplace savings vehicle, such as an ISA, in addition to a pension scheme.

Smarterly head of proposition, Steve Watson, commented: “Pensions continue to be a primary focus in the workplace when it comes to supporting the financial wellbeing of employees, but putting aside funds for retirement is not a priority for everyone.

“Many welcome more support on making savings for the short to medium term to help ease financial woes.”

Smarterly’s research revealed 90% of employers would consider adopting the NEST sidecar approach, if it was to be deployed.

NEST, the pension scheme set up by the Government and established by law to specifically deal with auto-enrolment, is run by the NEST corporation – a non-profit public organisation falling under the Department of Work and Pensions.

Although the new research also suggested 58.7% of employees had agreed pensions are still the priority, Smarterly also indicated a belief that there is a need to change the way they work.

The group suggested this would accommodate the ‘evolving needs of the workforce’ and help ‘incorporate other financial areas.’

“It’s taken NEST, a public body, to try and shake up the market,” Watson continued. “NEST’s trial of ‘sidecar savings’ is still ongoing, but our research shows that employers are very interested in this ‘two-pronged’ approach to workplace saving.

“Financial wellbeing is an important part of the employee benefit mix. Employees, young and old, need to be supported throughout their working lives and a good financial wellbeing programme can provide this. It’ll take radical ideas such as this to really engage people with saving for their retirement.”

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