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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Pension contributions ranked by sector

Financial services provide their employees with higher pension contributions as a percentage of salaries than any other sector, a new study of UK industries has revealed.

Huge variations across sectors ©iStock
"Remarkable" variations across sectors ©iStock

The findings show that employer contributions at financial and insurance firms are 9.5% on average, with schools and other educational services close behind on 9.3%.

Electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply companies complete the top three, with average contributions of 7.1%, according to the research from Profile Pensions.

At the other end of the scale, agriculture, forestry and fishing workers are typically offered the minimum legal rate, which was 2% when the latest official pensions data was published.

Accommodation and food services were the next worst sectors for employer contributions on just 2.1%, followed by the arts, which only offered 2.5% on average.

“The difference between industries is remarkable," said Profile Pensions' chief investment officer, Michelle Gribbin.

"While some you might expect, the high pensions in education mean teachers are likely to be better off in retirement than those in typically high-earning careers like real estate or logistics."

The research also uncovered significant pension contribution variations between men and women depending on sectors.

Education, in particular, favours women, with an average contribution rate of 9.3%, while men receive only 7.9%. However, men typically get higher contributions in technical roles.

In electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply, for example, men receive contributions that are 3.3% higher than women. There is a 0.9% difference in manufacturing.

Gribbin said it is important for government policy to avoid impacting women’s pension contributions should they choose to interrupt their career for caring reasons.

However, he added: “Firms should fully adopt a policy of 'equal pay and pension contributions for equal roles', applied to both full-time and part-time workers.

“As a further step, firms regularly reporting on gender disparities in income and pension contributions really helps ensure good transparency and commitment on this issue.”

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