Average auto-enrolment opt outs are 9% to 10%

The proportion of employees who have opted out of a workplace pension scheme after auto-enrolment stands at between 9% and 10%, according to research by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Steve Webb

Its Employers’ pension provision survey 2013: preliminary findings, which surveyed 3,079 employers, found that opt-out rates were lower among final salary and money purchase schemes (6%) than among contract-based DC schemes and the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) (12% to 14%).

The research also found that the percentage of private sector employees who are members of a workplace pension scheme rose from 26% in 2011 to 35% in 2013.

Around two-thirds (65%) of respondents that had reached their auto-enrolment staging date at the time of the research already had a workplace pension scheme in place.

Among this group, 94% chose to keep employees in the existing pension scheme, while 74% also enrolled non-members or new employees into the existing scheme.

Among respondents that had not passed their staging date at the time of the research, 75% were aware that they had to automatically enrol all eligible employees into a pension scheme.

The vast majority (91%) of respondents that had not passed their staging date said they were likely to seek information or advice in relation to at least some aspects of the government’s reforms.

The most commonly cited source was an independent financial advisor (74%), while 64% planned to seek the help of The Pensions Regulator.

Among this group, 17% already had a workplace pension scheme in place.

The full findings of the survey will be published in the summer of 2014.

Steve Webb (pictured), pensions minister, said: “Automatic-enrolment is proving significantly more successful than previously predicted.

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“With opt-outs remaining low, we now expect nine million people will be newly saving or saving more as a result of our reforms.

“Ensuring people can plan for their retirement is crucial to building a stronger economy.”