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Finance, insurance and education offer best pension schemes

Written by: Emma Lunn
Profile Pensions has revealed the best and worst industries for workplace pensions.

The pension advisory firm examined which industry’s employers offer the highest level of contributions, and how that differs by gender.

With employer contributions of an average of 9.5 per cent, finance and insurance are the best industries for getting support. The industries also boast an average salary of £30,403, making them some of the best-paying options around.

Teachers are also among those with the best pension options, with average contributions of 9.3 per cent. The average salary of £22,146 means those contributions reach an average of £2,053.60 each year.

At the other end of the scale, agriculture, forestry and fishing jobs offered the minimum legal contribution of 2 per cent. Other sectors with poor levels of contributions include accommodation and food services (2.1 per cent), and the arts (2.5 per cent).

The gender gap

While overall there was a slightly higher contribution rate for men than women – at 4.6 per cent compared with 4.4 per cent – in individual industries the range varies significantly.

The average difference in industries was marginally in favour of women, though only by 0.1 per cent. Education, in particular, favoured women, with an average employer contribution of 9.3 per cent, while men received only 7.9 per cent.

In technical areas, however, men saw higher contributions. In electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply, for example, they saw 3.3 per cent higher contributions, at 7.4 per cent compared with 4.2 per cent, and in manufacturing, there was a difference of 0.9 per cent (5.3 per cent to 4.4 per cent).

Michelle Gribbin, Profile Pensions’ chief investment officer, said: “The difference between industries is remarkable. While some you might expect, like financial and insurance industries, the high pensions in education mean teachers are likely to be better off in retirement than those in typically high-earning careers like real estate or logistics.”

“As for the gender differences uncovered, this is just another example of the gap between genders in the workplace, this time played out through pension contributions. Generally, we know women are more likely to have lower incomes and more interrupted careers as a result of their caring responsibilities. Ensuring this doesn’t penalise them is as much of an organisational culture issue as it is a government policy issue.

“Firms should really start to get to grips with the fundamentals and fully adopt a policy of ‘equal pay and pension contributions for equal roles’, applied to both full-time and part-time workers. As a further step, firms regularly reporting on gender disparities in income and pension contributions really helps ensure good transparency and commitment on this issue.”


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