A Women and Equalities Select Committee heard yesterday that employers need to promote their pensions plans better to jobseekers.
The number of people who think they will have a decent pension on retirement is falling as a result of the cost of living crisis and employers should focus more on pensions in job adverts, a Women and Equalities Committee session heard yesterday.
The session of the cross-party Parliamentary committee was the impact of the cost of living crisis on women. Charles Cotton from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [CIPD] said only 23% of women think they will have a decent pension in retirement, a percentage which has fallen significantly due to the cost of living crisis. He added that there had been an increase in the number of people opting out of pensions due to the economic situation. The CIPD would like to see employers putting more of an emphasis on their pension provisions in their recruitment processes.
Mary Macleod, Chair of Business in the Community, said more needs to be done to make sure women have adequate pension provision and that pensions are flexible enough to take account of career breaks.
The gender pensions gap – the gap in pensions earnings between men and women – has been getting more coverage in recent years and last year the first major government report on it was published, putting that gap at 35%.
Workingwise.co.uk’s 2022 ‘Gendered Ageism’ report highlighted women’s fear that they will have to keep working beyond retirement to make ends meet due to the impact of part-time, lower paid work and career breaks for caring responsibilities over their lifetime.
83% of respondents have worked part-time for at least one year of their career, and 27% of these worked part-time for over a decade. Some 64% of respondents said they had previously stopped their pension payments altogether due to a career break or reduced hours.
The Women and Equalities Committee also heard from the TUC about the impact of the cost of living on working women. It was told that women were suffering more than men because they were more likely to be in lower paid, insecure jobs than men and to work reduced hours due to caring responsibilities, with those from certain ethnic minority groups hit hardest. That means they are more exposed to economic shocks in the short term, with a knock-on impact for the longer term.
The TUC said economic uncertainty was leading to more business closures, more insecure work and more short-hours contracts. At the same time childcare costs are rising, leading to more women dropping out of the workplace. The Committee also heard that flexible working is crucial to keeping women in work. Macleod said one in three women had left a job due to a lack of flexibility while the TUC said it would like to see a right to flexible working replacing the current right to request, citing figures showing one in three requests are turned down, as well as a duty on employers to advertise jobs as being open to flexible working.