Legal and General research: A third of employees will opt out of auto-enrolment process

Almost half (46%) of employees will stay in their organisation’s pension scheme, while 33% will opt out of the auto-enrolment process, according to research by Legal and General.

The research, conducted in July, also found that 21% of respondents did not know which option they would take.

The results are a slight improvement compared to a similar study conducted in August 2007. Then, 37% were likely to opt out, 44% were likely to stay in, while 19% did not know what they would do.

The 2011 research found that the youngest age group, those between 22 and 30, would be the hardest to engage with on pensions, and may be most likely to opt out.

Older staff, aged 30 to 40 years, who are not yet members of the pension scheme are likely to be nudged into the decision to opt in.

The respondents in their 50s and 60s said they would be more likely to opt out and rely on the state pension.

Ian Mahoney, operations director, workplace savings at Legal and General, said: “Our research shows that the proportion of the workforce that is likely to opt out of the auto-enrolment process when it kick starts in October 2012 has not changed much in the last four years.

“This is despite a significant level of publicity around the launch of the national employment savings trust (Nest) and the run up to the start of auto-enrolment by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“We found that awareness among employees who are eligible for auto-enrolment is quite low with less than a third (29%) saying they had heard anything about it.

“Interestingly, even among those who seem to be aware of auto-enrolment there is confusion about what it means. Many think auto-enrolment only applies to those who have no pension provision at all. Hardly anyone is aware that staying in the auto-enrolment process means signing up to a minimum contribution from their current salary.”

Read more articles on auto-enrolment and the 2012 pension reforms