Auto-enrolment will improve engagement

More than half (63%) of respondents agree with the idea of auto-enrolment, according to research by the national employment savings trust (Nest).

Its Nest insight report, which draws on five years’ worth of research and evidence from a number of sources, including its own research, found that 67% of respondents agree that auto-enrolment would mean they could stop worrying about their retirement.

The report also found:

  • 74% of employee respondents are confident handling day-to-day financial decisions.
  • 14% of employee respondents think their current long-term savings plans are adequate.
  • Almost half of employer respondents with more than 5,000 employees that said they are ready for auto-enrolment said they have spent between 10 and 18 months preparing.
  • A quarter of employer respondents said communicating the pension reforms to the workforce is a priority.
  • 98% of employer respondents that are aware of the reforms have already sought, or plan to seek, advice.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Tim Jones, chief executive of Nest Corporation (pictured), referred to unpensioned workers, who do not currently belong to a qualifying workplace pension scheme. He saidd: “The core aim [of auto-enrolment] is to get to most people and make a significant difference to their lives.”

He added that the majority of employees believe auto-enrolment is a good idea. Although many have not yet engaged with pensions, they know that they should do, but have not known how to approach the task.

Jones added: “Automatic-enrolment represents a massive opportunity to improve pension participation as pensions go mainstream from this year. Our research tells us that this is what most [employees] want. Despite the economic challenges, the time is right for automatic-enrolment.

“Given the current economic constraints on household budgets, you might have expected opposition from [employees] for automatic-enrolment, but our research strongly suggests they welcome the policy.

“A fear of making the wrong decision has put many people off joining a pension in the past. However, the knowledge that their pension is being taken care of through a low-maintenance approach driven by their employer gives savers peace of mind. Whether the level of contributions will be enough to meet their aspirations is a conversation for further down the line, but automatic-enrolment is a great start.

“One of the reasons we are publishing this report is to share these insights with [employees], employers and industry bodies alike. We are calling on everyone in the industry to work together to help employers prepare, and ensure they can be confident that implementation will work well.

“This will be particularly important during 2014 when thousands of employers come on board within a few months of each other.”