Wednesday 11 November 2020 6:00 am

Gender pension gap narrows but women still lag behind

Women will need to work beyond 100 to match men’s pension pots even as the gender pension gap narrows. 

More women are putting money aside for retirement, with the pension gap closing to just one per cent, the narrowest on record according to pension provider Scottish Widows. 

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Despite this, the gender pay gap and part-time working ratio mean women are saving £1,300 a year less than men, and would have to work an extra 37 years – taking her over the age of 100 – to match a man’s pension contribution. 

While automatic enrolment has gone some way in helping women save for retirement there are a number of structural players preventing a level playing field. 

Figures show women in full-time work earn £6,100 less than men, which increases to £10,800 for all employment types. 

Additionally three quarters of all part-time workers are women due to extra commitments such as childcare, which have been amplified by the pandemic. 

“While we’re heartened at the record levels of saving, there’s still a mountain to climb before we reach true gender pension parity,” said Jackie Leiper, managing director of workplace savings. 

“Women face decades of extra working before they’ll have a pension to match that of a man’s, which is unfair and unacceptable. Until we can resolve structural inequalities, from the gender pay gap to the uneven division of labour at home, we will never have pension equality.”

Scottish Widows research shows there is also growing generational divide in how women are saving.

Research reveals that while almost three in five (59 per cent) of women are saving more the figure drops in younger women.  

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Just 46 per cent of 20-something women are saving the recommended minimum 12 per cent, compared to 56 per cent of men the same age and 64 per cent of women in their 50s. 

“We’re calling for urgent pension reforms that will help more women save more for retirement, including improved childcare provisions, enhanced pensions for those on maternity leave, the inclusion of pensions in divorce proceedings, and the scrapping of the auto-enrolment minimum earnings threshold,” added Leiper. 

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