Almost 3 million people have now been auto-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme, according to latest figures from The Pensions Regulator. But pension experts are warning that people are still not saving enough for retirement.
TPR's monthly figures, published today, show that 2.87 million people are now paying into a workplace pension.
Darren Ryder, TPR's strategic planning manager for automatic enrolment told The Actuary 9,000 employers were now registered with the regulator, most of the UK's largest private and public sector employer.
He added: 'We are still in the early days of automatic enrolment. Now it's time for medium and small businesses to act.
'Over the coming year, more than 32,000 medium-sized businesses with 250 workers reach their staging dates. Most will not have experience of workplace pensions. Against this backdrop, we have long warned against complacency amongst both employers and those professionals helping them.'
Commenting on TPR's figures, Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, acknowledged that participation rates 'have been good' but added: 'We are still in the early round of the tournament and tough challenges still lie ahead.'
He went on: 'The real challenges [will] come over the next few years in terms of communication and making sure that the participation rates stay high and also that when we get to 2018 we go on beyond the minimum of 8% and go on and encourage people to put more money in.'
TPR's monthly figures also highlighted that 3.6 million people are not being auto-enrolled because their earnings are too low.
McPhail told The Actuary that, for workers in their 20s, 'this probably isn't a big deal' but said those over 40 should be concerned about their retirement prospects.
He said: 'I do have concerns about the 40- and 50-somethings, whom every year matters and a delay of four years now until 2018 before they get up to the full contribution rate will actually have quite a substantial impact on their retirement prospects.'
'I think there are some really important messages to push out there about avoiding complacency and about getting those contribution rates up as quickly as we can.'