Stakeholder schemes now offered by 60% of firms

Some 60% of employers in the UK offer a stakeholder pension – according to the Confederation of British Industry’s Employment Trends Survey 2004.

This comes as the number of organisations with final salary pension schemes is dropping; 30% of employers allowed employees to join one in 2004 compared with 43% in 2003.

And the figures show that financial services firms are most likely to allow staff to join; this being the case in nearly two-thirds of banking, finance and insurance companies.

However, stakeholder pensions dominate the retail sector, where four-out-of-five firms offer them. Money purchase schemes account for 49% of workplace pensions, while group personal pension plans account for 31%.

The study also shows that employers are getting fidgety about the proposed European Agency Workers’ Directive, which, if introduced, will grant agency temps the same rights as their permanent colleagues. That said, only 2% of employers said they would reduce the number of benefits for staff if the rules are brought in.

Around 58% said the directive would spell additional costs for businesses and six-out-of-ten employers believe they would use fewer agency workers as a result.

Meanwhile, half of companies surveyed reported that effective people management was the key to staying competitive. Of the different HR factors that helped achieve this competitiveness, 62% cited management skills and 54% mentioned workforce skills.

According to the poll, flexible working is proving its worth with one-out-of-three respondents using flexible working to help get an edge over rivals.

The study found that employers have accepted three-quarters of staff pleas for flexible working following new right-to-request laws after April 2003. Just under two-thirds of firms said that flexible working has had no impact on business. Indeed, a quarter of organisations reported that flexible working has had a positive effect.

Some 84% of employers have introduced part-time working and nearly a third have brought in flexitime. Over a third of firms said they have job share schemes, while one-in-five offer career breaks and sabbaticals.

To order a copy of the CBI’s Employment Trends Survey 2004, please contact the CBI bookshop on 0870 242 2345 or visit (Cost £50).