Number of companies missing their auto enrolment set up date continues to rise

28 April 2017


Aviva uses their own client data in their ‘late stagers’ tracker (Q1 2017). It shows the proportion of companies who are applying for their workplace pension after the date by which they should have set it up.

The figure is continuing to rise and is now up to 1 in 6 businesses – this is up from 1 in 7 (14%) during the previous quarter and 16 times higher year-on-year; although the number of companies going through auto-enrolment has greatly increased since the middle of 2016.


The data has also highlighted that the proportion of firms preparing for auto-enrolment well in advance has continued to fall. Only a quarter of firms (25%) applied to Aviva more than two months in advance of their staging date – the lowest on record. This figure is down considerably on the high of 40% back in Q2 2016. However, the proportion of companies applying a month or two months before their deadline has remained stable.

The number of firms who are now setting up workplace pensions for the first time does go someway to explaining the continued rise of ‘late stagers’.


2017 promises to be a key year for the roll out of automatic enrolment. Up to 700,000 employers are due to stage in 2017 – the highest number since AE began in October 2012.  This year it is quite possible that business advisers will see a doubling, or even trebling, of the number of their clients staging each month, compared with 2016.

This will include new employers that first employed a worker between 2 April 2012 and 30 September 2017 who will reach their staging date between May 2017 and February 2018.

In addition:

  • Medium size employers, those with 50 to 500 staff in 2012, are expected to reach their re-enrolment date in the new financial year (2017/2018).

  • New employers from 1 October 2017 onwards will have immediate AE duties, starting on the contract start date of their first worker.