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Occupational Pensions Drive Growth In Retirement Income, Up 38% From A Decade Ago

Tuesday, 9 June 2020
  • Occupational pensions now make up 30p in every pound of retirees’ income, up from 24p in 2008/09
  • Weekly occupational pension income rises £46 in past ten years reaching £167 p/w in 2018/19, more than double the increase that State Benefit income has seen over same period (£21)
  • While all other sources of income remain broadly flat or negative, occupational pension income increases 38% from 2008-09
  • Equiniti urges pension savers not to opt out of workplace schemes if possible during Covid pandemic amid fears it could lead to lower participation rates in the future

Analysis from Equiniti, one of the largest providers of outsourced pension administration in the UK, finds that income taken from occupational pension schemes has seen a substantial increase in its importance to the nation’s retirement finances.

In the decade between 2008/09 and 2018/19, occupational pension income rose from £121 to £167 a week, an increase of 38%. It now accounts for nearly a third (30%) of the total average income of all pensioner units* which stands at £550 a week, or around £28,600 annually. In 2008/09, occupational pensions provided just 24% of the £500 average weekly income for retirees.

The only other source of income to see an increase was State Benefits which rose 10% from £217 to £238 per week over the same period and represents 43% of pensioner income. All other income types remained flat except earnings income which decreased to £77 a week.

The research follows figures released by the DWP which found that the number of employees putting more than 7% of their pensionable pay into a workplace scheme had more than doubled to 1.6 million people between 2011 and 2018.

Duncan Watson, CEO of Equiniti’s pension business, believes the figures demonstrate the success occupational pensions have been in helping retirees meet the growing responsibility they shoulder in funding their later-lives. He also urges younger employees to see the value in continuing contributions to their workplace pension scheme even in the current exceptional circumstances.  

“Occupational pension income is the most rapidly growing source of funds for pensioners and is catching up income provided by the State as the most valuable in retirement,” said Duncan Watson.

“Many people may currently see their incomes stretched if they have been placed on furlough or are facing other financial difficulties as a result of the crisis. However, our fear would be that if a large swathe of employees seek to dip out of pension contributions for a short while it could harm positive behavioural attitudes that have become the norm since the introduction of auto-enrolment. 

“Added to this, those who continue to invest as the market suffers from continued turbulence could benefit from upside as the world recovers from this unprecedented crisis and moves towards greater certainty.”


* A “pensioner unit” is defined as single pensioners over State Pension age or pensioner couples with two adults married or living together where one or more is over State Pension age.




For more information about Equiniti:

Tulchan Communications

Martin Robinson
Tel: +44(0)20 7353 4200

About the research

1DWP, Pensioners’ Income Series, Financial Year 2018 to 2019

2DWP, Automatic evaluation report 2019

About Equiniti Group

Equiniti Group plc, an international technology-led services and payments specialist, provides non-discretionary payment and administration services to some of the world’s best-known brands and UK’s largest public-sector organisations.

It is the UK’s leading provider of share registration, employee share plans, and associated investor services, and also has market leading positions in pension administration and software, and employee benefit schemes.

Equiniti’s EQ Paymaster division is one of the largest providers of outsourced pension administration in the UK, working with schemes in the public and private sectors with complex defined benefit, defined contribution and hybrid arrangements. In addition, Equiniti also provides specialist pensions savings and retirement income administration services to the insurance sector.

The wide array of administration services provided include; member record keeping and maintenance; web; treasury; accounts; communications; and pensioner payroll. Equiniti supports around nine million pension scheme members and pays around 20% of UK pensioners, delivering £15 billion in payments to 4.2 million pensioners and annuitants in 2019.