Four in five employees to stay in AE pensions as rate rises

James Phillips writes

The majority of employees will stay opted into their automatic enrolment (AE) scheme despite their pension contributions tripling, Now Pensions research finds.

More than four in five (84%) said they would continue contributing as employee contributions rise from 1% to up to 3% of qualifying earnings today.

Another three in five also said it is important to save into a pension, although just under a quarter (23%) said the employer contribution is too valuable to lose out on.

The findings may help to alleviate concerns that the hike in contribution rates could lead to a higher number of opt outs or cessations.

Yet, nearly four in ten (38%) of those who have chosen to opt out said they had done so could because they couldn’t afford the payment, while 24% said they did not see the point because the contribution was so small.

Another 19% said they did not trust pensions.

The findings come from a survey of 1,552 working age adults with a pre-tax income of over £10,000 commissioned by Now Pensions and conducted by Opinium.

Now Pensions interim chief executive Troy Clutterbuck said the research showed employees were becoming used to saving for retirement.

“AE has been a huge success with over a million employers signing up over nine million employees into a workplace pension since 2012,” he said. “Pension saving is fast becoming the new normal and the vast majority are happy to pay in a little bit more each month, safe in the knowledge that their employer will be doing the same.”

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) to the survey were aware of today’s rate rise, but nearly a half said they wanted to understand workplace pensions better, with 51% saying they wished they could have saved earlier.

The master trust’s research comes as The People’s Pension found one in five employers will pay more than their minimum contribution of 2% into their employees’ pension, cutting the amount their employees will be asked to save for retirement.

Further, research from Prudential found workers aged over 55 had been encouraged to save more as a result of the introduction of the pension freedoms.