Women need to start work at age 4 to match male pension pots

Piggy bank with Euros spilling out of it, Salary concept


Women would have to work from the age of 4, or continue to work until they are 83, to secure the same pension pot as men new research has revealed.

Now: Pensions and PPI data reveals biggest gender pension gap on record.

Women would have to work from the age of 4, or continue to work until they are 83, to secure the same pension pot as men new research has revealed.

Conducted by NOW: Pensions and PPI, the research found that women are approaching retirement age with the largest pension savings disparity ever recorded.

Credit: Now: Pensions Gender Pensions Gap Report 2022

The report states that 1 in 6 women are currently ineligible for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension. Women’s employment, on the other hand, is at an all-time high (72.7%). According to the survey, millions of women are missing out on important pension savings, putting them at danger of “pensioner poverty.”

Discussing the findings Joanne Segars, Chair of Trustees at NOW: Pensions says: “It is now a decade since auto-enrolment was launched and it just proves what a powerful tool inertia has been to get over 10 million new savers into auto-enrolment.

Credit: Now: Pensions Gender Pensions Gap Report 2022

“However, it is by no means a perfect picture as almost the same number of people (10.4 million) are currently ineligible. Women make up the biggest proportion of part-time workers in the UK and with reduced hours comes reduced pay. Millions of women have not been able to save via a workplace pension, nor take advantage of their employer contributions and the tax relief.”

She adds: “Pension policies and regulations have not kept pace with how many of us now live and work, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why we have been lobbying the government to fix these inequalities and enable ‘under-pensioned’ groups the same opportunity to build their retirement pot as others enjoy.”

Flexible working            

Only 27% of women work largely full time throughout their careers, compared to 45% of males, according to the survey. Furthermore, according to the study, women take an average of ten years off from work to start families or care for family.

The research reveals that over 5.8 million women are working in part time roles (38%), which means they are unlikely to fulfil the £10,000 eligibility requirement to be automatically enrolled in their workplace pension. The average earnings for someone working part time is £6,922, according to the report.

Anna Whitehouse, author and founder of Flex Appeal, notes that this contributes to both the pay and pensions gap through fewer opportunities for career progression and salary increases.

“Flexible working is the number one way that we will close the gender pay gap.”
— Anna Whitehouse, author and founder of Flex Appeal

She says flexible working is the answer: “Flexible working is the number one way that we will close the gender pay gap. So, the idea that women are being penalised in later life by the gender pensions gap for working flexibly and therefore being able to work at all is exhausting.”

“If women did not work flexibly and take on caring responsibilities, the economy would crumble. That this additional penalty is falling on women when they are at their most vulnerable is beyond cruel. We need to start supporting women; we need to level the playing field, and we need to start to close these gaps before things get any worse.”

 Joeli Brearly, Pregnant Then Screwed founder, says: ”We will only close the gender pension gap when women have equal access to the labour market. Our outdated parental leave system ensures that it is almost always women who take time out of the workforce to care for their children and this unequal share of the care work continues for many years.

“Meanwhile, we have the most expensive childcare in the world as a proportion of a mother’s earnings, resulting in hundreds of thousands of women reducing their hours or leaving the workforce altogether as it doesn’t make financial sense to continue working.”

Brearly suggests that if the government was to invest in childcare and parental leave “we would undoubtedly see the gender pay gap and the gender pensions gap reduce, resulting in fewer women and families living in poverty.’’



The Fawcett Society has announced that Equal Pay Day will fall on Sunday 20th November this year.

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