The pension gender gap is shrinking but women retiring this year still expect their annual retirement income to be a third lower than that of men, according to research published by Prudential today.
The insurance company's Class of 2012 study found that the average woman retiring this year expects an annual income of £12,250 in retirement, including private, company and state pension. This compares to an average expected income of £18,000 for men - giving a gender gap of £5,750.
Last year's gender gap was £6,500, and this year's figure means the gap in expected incomes has narrowed steadily since Prudential first measured a gap of £6,642 in 2009. Prudential said the narrowing of the gap could mainly be attributed to a reduction in men's expected incomes.
For this year's retirees as a whole, the average amount people expect to retire on fell to a five-year low of £15,500, compared to £16,600 in 2011.
Vince Smith-Hughes, Prudential's retirement income expert, said: 'The pension gender gap appears to be narrowing but there is still a long way to go. Not only does the gap remain stubbornly wide, but anticipated retirement incomes have this year hit a five year low for both men and women.'
'The practical steps that women can take to improve their retirement income prospects include maintaining pension contributions during career breaks and, if possible, making voluntary National Insurance contributions after returning to work.'
Prudential's survey also found that 49% of women believe they will not have enough income for a comfortable retirement, compared to 40% of men.
It also found the pension gender gap was most significant in the Southeast, where women retiring this year expect to have £12,259 of annual income - £7,878 less than the £20,137 expected by men.
Retirees in the Northwest reported the narrowest gender gap, with women expecting to retire on an average of £13,087, just £2,545 less than the £15,632 expected by their male counterparts.