Less than half of employees in workplace pension in 2011

Last year, the proportion of employees who belonged to a workplace pension scheme was below half (48%) for the first time since 1997, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The 2011 Annual survey of hours and earnings: summary of pension results also showed that 83% of public sector employees and 33% of private sector employees were members of a workplace pension scheme.

The proportion of employees with defined benefit (DB) pension schemes continues to fall. In 2011, 30% of employees had this type of pension, compared with 46% in 1997.

Membership of defined contribution (DC) pension schemes also fell slightly, from 9% to 6%. Membership of group personal pension (GPP) plans and group stakeholder pension schemes was 10% in 2011, compared with 1% in 1997 (before stakeholder pensions were introduced).

Darren Philip, policy director at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said: “We have passed an important and worrying landmark. Less than half the workforce is now saving into a pension, and with people living longer the UK is facing a growing headache in paying for its old age.”

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