10.2m were active members of a workplace pension scheme in 2014


There were 10.2 million active members in workplace pension schemes in the UK in 2014, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Its statistical bulletin Active members of occupational pensions, 2014, also found that the number of active members in workplace pension schemes in the private sector increased from 2.9 million to 4.9 million between 2011 and 2014.

The research also found:

  • There were 5.4 million active members of workplace pension schemes in the public sector in 2014.
  • In 2014, 53% of total active membership was in the public sector and 47% in the private sector. This compares to 65% and 35%, respectively, in 2011. The change has been attributed to auto-enrolment.
  • 82% of active members of workplace defined contribution (DC) pensions are in schemes with 10,000 or more members, up from 50% in 2011.
  • 69% of active members in DC schemes received employer contributions of 4% or less in 2014, compared to 22% in 2013. Auto-enrolment has again been named as the key driver of this.
  • 1% of active members in workplace DC schemes received employer contributions of 15% or over in 2014, compared to 57% of those in defined benefit (DB) schemes.

Nathan Long, head of corporate pension research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Auto-enrolment is working and has brought huge numbers into pensions for the first time, particularly in the private sector. However, it is also responsible for the spike in members receiving employer contributions of less than 4%.

“The majority of those auto-enrolled will currently be receiving a contribution of only 2%, with 1% from their employer. When auto-enrolment is fully up and running in 2019, the required contribution will be 8%, with 3% from the employer. This will still be some way short of the level required, which is closer to 15%.

“Pension scheme members and employers shouldn’t assume that because they have dealt with auto-enrolment they can now forget about pension planning. There is still plenty more to be done.”