Pensions mean little to employees, complain FDs

Link: Last week’s Big Question

More than half of Britain’s workers are ignoring their pensions, a fact set to heighten concerns over the huge shortfall in the UK’s retirement provision.

The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Big Question showed that the advice of 53% of UK FDs was completely ignored by workers.

One FD said: ‘On the whole, no-one asks about pensions except for senior managers.’

Another added: ‘While some people may recognise the importance of pensions, most concentrate on the more immediate pay and conditions that they feel better able to judge.’

The survey results came after the Trades Union Congress demanded that information about pension provision be included in job adverts.

The TUC believes that few people really understand pensions and, when applying for jobs, are fooled by offers of ‘duvet days’ and ‘dress-down Fridays’. The union organisation clearly wants staff to ask employers tougher questions about pension arrangements.

Experts estimate that pensions savings in the UK currently fall short by as much as £20bn a year.

These concerns have prompted the government to act on a number of fronts, with plans such as guaranteeing the pension funds of failed companies.

But the biggest problem remains persuading people to take action. One FD estimated that less than 10% of his employees pay any attention to their pension savings.

Others, however, felt that awareness had improved. Kevin Tomlinson of Signam said: ‘Ten years ago we would have had no interest from workers in pensions, but they are more aware that they need to plan for the future.’

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