Pension Gap Punishes Women Workers

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Women workers not only face a pay gap between men doing the same job, but a massive pension gap as well, a report has warned.

By the age of 50 years old, women have around half the retirement savings of a man.

The average pension for a woman is £56,000 at 50, compared with £112,000 set aside by men.

To keep up with a man of the same age, a woman would have to pay £360 a month more than a man to have the same amount of money in her pension pot at retirement, says experts at life and pensions firm Aegon.

The pension gap is blamed on a range of factors, including:

  • Earning less despite performing the same job as a man
  • Time-off taken to raise a family
  • Having to work part-time for a lower salary

Lower pay means a smaller pension

The pay and pensions gap means half of women approaching 65 years old are less confident they have enough money for a comfortable retirement.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “It’s shocking that 100 years after women secured the vote we have a gender pay gap across every occupation.

“The fact that the pay gap filters down to mean women receive lower pension incomes is a double blow.

“When you factor in that women’s ability to save is further interrupted by breaks in their career to raise a family or care for elderly parents the pension gap reaches epic proportions, making it difficult to catch up.

Limited retirement choices

“Gaps in pension savings history leave you worse off in retirement but for women who take time out of their career this is unavoidable.

“The earlier women can address the shortfall, the better. Our figures show that women in the early part of their career are within touching distance of men’s overall savings.”

The company suggests women should set a realistic savings target for retirement but reveals that four out of 10 women do not know how much money they need, increasing the risk that they will not save enough and will either must keep working or are likely to run out of money once they stop working.

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