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Women’s pensions negatively impacted by career breaks

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

The majority of women are concerned about the impact of career breaks on their pension, according to a new survey from a professional pension body.

The latest research from the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) reveals that 61% of working women have taken a career break, almost all these women having taken maternity leave, with 49% having been away from work for less than a year and 20% being absent for between one and five years.

As a result, 54% of women polled worry about the impact of career breaks on their retirement.

The survey also showed that well over half (60%) of all women will depend entirely upon their pension savings during retirement with no other retirement savings.

Pensions knowledge gap

Just 36% of working women know how much they have saved in their pension and the average pension savings for those women who do know how much they have saved is £23,959. Only 4% of female employees have saved more than £55,000 in pension savings.

The findings backed official figures released at the start of the month showing that women are lagging well behind men in terms of pension provision with women’s private pensions being worth 35% less than men’s at the age of 55.

Women being penalised as mothers

Sara Cook, PMI president, said: “This survey exposes the concerns of many women about their retirement prospects. Women continue to believe they will be penalised through their role as mothers, and far too many are concerned about facing a bleak retirement as a consequence of raising children.”

“If the root of the gender pensions gap is due to career breaks for women to bring up children, then at a societal level, the gender bias and widely held presumption that women should have the primary child-raising role needs to be addressed. This bias needs to be challenged so that both men and women have equal opportunity to care for their children without penalty.”