More public sector staff in pension schemes than private sector

A higher proportion (82%) of employees in the public sector belonged to a workplace pension scheme than their private sector counterparts (32%) in 2008/10, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Its Wealth and assets survey found that the median value of current workplace pension wealth of employees in the public sector was £90,100, more than double that of employees in the private sector, at £40,000.

The research also found:

  • In 2008/10, median wealth held in private pensions from which individuals had not yet drawn an income (such as current and retained pensions) was much higher in defined benefit (DB) pension schemes (£93,900) than in defined contribution (DC) pension schemes (£16,000).
  • In 2008/10, 18% of individuals received income from a private pension. The median wealth held in pensions that were already being paid (pensions in payment) was £79,400. A higher proportion of men (20%) than women (16%) received such income.
  • The median level of wealth held by men (£126,500) in pension schemes in payment was more than double that of women (£60,500).
  • Aggregate household private pension wealth in the UK increased from £3.7 trillion in 2006/08 to £4.8 trillion in 2008/10. However, around half of this difference (48%) was due to the change in financial assumptions used to calculate current and retained DB pensions and pensions in payment.
  • Private pension wealth was unequally distributed with 26% of households in 2008/10 not having any private pension wealth.
  • Of those who had some private pension wealth, the 10% of households with the highest levels of pension wealth had almost seven times as much pension wealth as households in the bottom 50% combined.

Read more articles on public sector and private sector pension schemes