Gender pension gap exists in every UK sector, analysis shows

Legal & General has released a new study comparing women’s and men’s pension pots, and is calling for all companies and pension providers to disclose their gender pension gap. 

Jar with coins in it and a sticker on it saying pensions

 

Women’s pensions fall short of men’s in every job sector in the UK as they reach retirement, new analysis by Legal & General has shown

The study also found that, on average, women have a pension pot of £12,000 on retirement – less than half of men’s average pension pot of £26,000. Legal & General, a financial services provider that offers life insurance, pensions, and retirement and investment services, conducted the study by analysing data from more than 4.5million savers who use its services.

Gender pension gap

The gender pension gap ranges from 59% in the healthcare industry to 13% in courier services, the analysis found. The three sectors with the biggest gaps were healthcare (59%), construction (51%), and real estate/property development (48%).

The gender pension gap is caused by several factors, ranging from women holding fewer senior positions and being paid less, to women being more likely to take career breaks to care for children or other family members. Some studies also point to a so-called “ gender confidence gap” around pensions, where women feel less confident than men about how to make decisions about investments and savings. 

Raising awareness

Legal & General is calling for all companies and pension providers to disclose their gender pension gap, to raise awareness of it and work together to help close it across all sectors. 

“It is striking that some of the sectors where we see the highest gender pension gaps – such as senior care, healthcare and pharmaceuticals – are also among the top sectors for female employment. This demonstrates the extent of the crisis facing many women as they approach retirement, even in careers where they make up the majority of the workforce,” Rita Butler-Jones, Co-Head of Defined Contribution at Legal & General, said in a statement.

“There is therefore a real need for providers, schemes and government to work together to understand and tackle both the sector-specific and structural barriers which women face in saving for their future.”

Women can take action

While there are many structural reasons for the gender pension gap, Legal & General says there are some actions that individual women can take to boost their pension pots. These include: 

  • Starting a pension early and contributing as much as you can to it.
  • If you have several small pensions from different jobs, checking whether you could reduce your charges by consolidating them into one pension.
  • Check how much your State Pension will be and when you’ll get it. 
  • Talk through your pension planning with your partner. 
  • Use free support like the MoneyHelper or Retirement Living Standards websites.


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