Record high numbers of workplace pension members in 2019

05 March 2020

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published data which highlights that 77% of UK employees were members of a workplace pension scheme in 2019. This is a substantial jump from the 47% who were pension scheme members back in 2012 when auto-enrolment was initially rolled out to larger employers.

2019 saw the highest membership rate since records began in 1997, and approximately 21.9 million people were saving, largely into defined contribution pension schemes. More employees were members of a defined contribution scheme than any other for the first time in 2019, with 36% of employees saving into this type of scheme.

Whilst the figures are impressive, pension provider Aviva has pointed out that this still means that roughly five million employees are still not members of a workplace pension scheme. Those earning under £10,000 or who are below the auto-enrolment qualification age of 22 are not automatically enrolled and so may form a large chunk of that five million. Additionally, there is an estimated further five million self-employed workers who are excluded from auto-enrolment entirely.

Pension experts have urged the government to address auto-enrolment and to build on the proposals made in 2017 for qualifying bands to be scrapped.


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