50% of employers are clear on auto-enrolment requirements


Half (50%) of employers are clear on auto-enrolment requirements and which employees are eligible, according to research by maritime pension scheme provider Ensign.

Its survey of 44 employers and 87 employees in the shipping and maritime sector also found that 50% of employees do not know how much they need to save into their pension to achieve a decent retirement income, with 10% not even thinking about what they should be saving.

The research also found that of the employee respondents:

  • 42% know how much they are paying into their pension, although 54% do not know how much they pay in fees and charges.
  • 41% are unaware of the tax relief on their pension contributions and 22% are knowledgeable about the impact of costs and charges on their pension.
  • 29% think they are paying enough into their pension, compared to 3% who feel that are paying too much into their retirement savings.
  • 79% are members of their employer’s pension scheme, although 27% are more likely to put any spare cash into a bank or building society than top up their pension (10%).
  • 84% view the provision of a workplace pension as very important, compared to 52% of employer respondents who see pensions as a ‘not very’ or ‘moderately’ important part of their overall employee benefits package.
  • 29% know what they need to save for a decent retirement.
  • 15% review their pension performance more than once a year, compared to 34% who hardly ever do so.

In addition, 40% of employers review the performance of their pension provider annually and 13% do not review the performance at all.

Rory Murphy (pictured), chairman at Ensign, said: “This research reveals a potential scandal in the making. [Employees] are clearly aware that saving for retirement is a critical issue, but lack the tools to make informed decisions about how best to achieve this.

“Far too many employees are unaware of the tax advantages of pension saving, or don’t know how much they need to save, or even how much they are saving. This is a toxic cocktail which could lead to poverty in retirement for thousands of [employees], and as such is a critical issue for our industry. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Andrew Waring, chief executive officer at Ensign, added: “This research represents a wake-up call for employers in the shipping and maritime sector. It illustrates an alarming disparity between the industry’s employers and their [employees] in their attitudes to retirement provision, with employers worryingly slow to recognise the importance of pensions to their staff.

“In a highly competitive labour market, employers are all too aware of the challenges of attracting top talent to the industry, and employees are telling us that pensions are a critical factor in their choice of employer. Yet many employers are under estimating the importance of retirement provision as part of the employee benefits package. The message from these findings is clear: employers who downplay the importance of pensions risk losing out in the battle for talent.”