37% of employers worry staff cannot afford to retire

pension piggy

More than a third (37%) of respondents worry that their employees will not be able to afford to retire, according to research by Hargreaves Lansdown.

Its survey of 418 employers also found that 20% of respondents do not want automatic-enrolment contribution rates to change, however, 27% want minimum contribution rates to rise to 15% of salary or more.

The research also found:

  • Just under a third (31%) believe they should take on a greater share of the cost increase linked to rising pension contributions, while 6% think they should cover all of the cost of a pension contribution increase.
  • 55% of respondents support workplace financial education to boost understanding among staff about pensions.
  • 55% of respondents support a lowering of the earnings trigger for auto-enrolment.
  • 60% of respondents support using auto-enrolment in the workplace to nudge employees towards building an emergency cash fund to help improve financial resilience.
  • 53% of respondents think all earnings should count for a pension contribution.
  • 34% of respondents feel that auto-enrolment pension opt-out rates will be below 10% after contribution levels rise in 2018 and 2019, and 15% of respondents believe opt-out rates will exceed 20% once contribution levels increase.
  • Just 5% of respondents support implementing a financial health check for staff when they turn 50.

Nathan Long, senior pension analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Auto-enrolment was met originally with groans from employers that perceived further disruption to their staff and an increase to their staffing costs. Only five years on and employers are now calling for auto-enrolment to go further. Employer support to get more people saving at a greater rate and with a greater cost shouldered by the employer suggests the next wave of auto-enrolment can be as successful as the first.

“A large minority of employers are worried their staff will never be able to afford to retire and how this will impact their business. This explains the healthy support from employers to auto-enrol the self-employed, so that future staff do not have gaps in their retirement saving.

“Employers seem split on how many staff will stick with saving for retirement, with some believing opt-out rates will remain low, while others think they will go soaring.”