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Amid increasing worries about pensions, do employers need to do more to highlight the issue by promoting their pensions packages in job ads?
Pensions have been in the news a lot of late, with Labour announcing this week that it will launch a review into pensions and retirement savings and look to simplify the ISA landscape if the party is elected. Meanwhile, there have been several high profile cases of pension schemes not keeping up with inflation.
The Women and Equalities Committee also heard from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development [CIPD] this week about the impact of the cost of living crisis on women and pensions came up again. There has been a lot of focus on the gender pension gap of late – the gap between male and female pensions due to lifetime earnings issues, with career breaks and part-time, lower paid jobs being a big factor. One of the MPs on the Committee said she was getting more and more older women coming to her who were worried they would not be able to afford to retire. This tallies with workingwise.co.uk’s 2022 research on gendered ageism. We heard from women in their 50s who were frightened to even contemplate the future.
Of course, it’s not just women who are worrying about not being able to retire. We heard from one man who emailed to say he is nearly 70 and doing a 40-hour week in engineering maintenance. He wants to come off the call-out rota. He is on call every five weeks, but says he is ‘finding it a bit of a strain’. More and more older people will be under similar pressure in the future to keep working full time or more to make ends meet. There has been a lot of attention on the positives of ageing, but a lot of people are doing jobs which are not sedentary and which are more difficult to do as you get older.
That’s why we ensure pensions cover everyone and offer an adequate income. The CIPD said it would like to see employers putting more information in their job adverts about their pensions benefits. That would put the spotlight on it and open up a broader conversation. At the moment it is all too easy not to think about pensions and, in a cost of living crisis, it is not upmost in people’s thoughts. The CIPD indeed said that it has seen an increase in people not paying into their pensions due to the crisis. It’s hard to think about the future if you are finding it hard to get through each and every day.
But someone has to think longer term because, before we know it, the future will be here. It is already for some. That means looking at extending auto-enrolment in combination with more efforts to tackle insecure and low paid jobs and carve paths out of them and greater efforts to boost the threadbare welfare safety net. The Women and Equalities Committee also heard that insecurity and short-term contracts are rising. The longer term impact of that will be felt in the next decades until we do something to tackle it now.