TUC reveals workplace pension blackspots

13 October 2017

TUC analysis shows that in some industries, like hospitality and agriculture, six in ten workers are not enrolled in a workplace pension.

The TUC says many are missing out on a decent retirement because they earned less than £10,000 last year – the level of earnings at which employers must enrol someone into a workplace pension. Despite the success of pension auto-enrolment, nearly 9 million UK workers are still unable to save into a pension scheme.

The five industries with the lowest level of pension cover are:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 65% of employees (93,000) do not have a pension
  • Hospitality – 60% of employees (908,000) do not have a pension
  • Other services (hairdressing and beauty) – 56% of employees (270,000) do not have a pension
  • Construction – 50% (493,000) of employees do not have a pension
  • Arts and entertainment – 48% of employees (253,000) do not have a pension

The TUC also found evidence of a “pension lottery” among those saving into a workplace pension. In low-paid sectors, like wholesale and retail, nine out of ten savers received contributions worth less than 8% of salary from their employer.

By contrast, in industries like financial services (where there are more high earners), the vast majority of savers received more than 8% in contributions from their bosses.


TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Auto-enrolment has been a great success. But it’s not a case of ‘job done’. Millions remain at risk of poverty in retirement because they are saving nothing, or very little, in a pension scheme. We urgently need the government to help more low-paid workers join schemes. And ministers must set out a plan for increasing contributions from employers.”


CIPP comment

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is due to publish their statutory five year review of auto enrolment before the end of the year. Part of the review is considering the needs of those not currently benefiting from automatic enrolment, such as those earning under the £10,000 threshold whether that be in a single job or in multiple jobs. The trigger and qualifying earning bands and the age criteria are all being examined and the review is also being used to consider how the growing group of self-employed people can be helped to save for their retirement.

It is safe to say there will most certainly be more changes to come after the review is published and of course in the interim we have the Chancellor’s Budget on Wednesday 22 November 2017. The Policy team will as usual be providing coverage via twitter throughout Philip Hammond’s speech so be sure to tune in on the day #AutumnBudget2017. And we will also provide our concise summary of relevant announcements after the event which will be published on the news page of our website.