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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

UK firms failing to adapt pension strategies to ageing workforce

Just one-third of UK businesses have reviewed their pensions strategy in response to the challenge of an ageing workforce, new research has uncovered.

60% of workers have no retirement goals ©iStock

This is despite eight in 10 human resource (HR) leaders admitting that pension shortfalls and an ageing workforce are creating “massive challenges” for their business.

Employees looking to work beyond retirement age, and regulation, were cited as the next biggest trends likely to impact pension provision over the next two years.

The research found that half of companies are planning to review their pension strategy within the next 12 months, but that one in 10 have no plans at all.

Gareth Pickles, managing director at Capita Employee Solutions, which carried out the research, said there is “a real appetite” for innovative pension solutions.

“As an industry, we have to re-define what retirement means and re-structure compensation and benefits to put more focus on long-term savings,” he continued.

“This will mean offering a more targeted and personalised mix of rewards, better supporting the needs of contract and gig workers, and driving better outcomes for employees and organisations.”

The study involved 200 pension managers, 200 senior finance professionals, 100 HR leaders, and more than 2,000 employees.

Around two-third of finance and HR leaders said that developing a new pension strategy, rather than tweaking existing frameworks, would deliver optimum outcomes for their firm.

But the scale of the challenge may be daunting, with 60% of workers admitting they have no retirement goals, and just 15% confident they will save enough to retire.

Nine in 10 HR leaders expect to be under greater pressure to increase pension contributions going forward, and to be more transparent with employees about the realities of retirement.

“Most organisations are fully aware of the challenge facing both employers and employees, and are willing to take on responsibility for finding solutions,” Pickles said.

“Employers need to find ways of engaging with employees around pensions in a much more meaningful and transparent way, acknowledging the worrying realities of insufficient pension savings.” 

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