Despite the charity sector being one of the top sectors for female employment, it still has a gender pensions gap of 29% according to research from Legal & General.
However, it is less than the pensions gap in many other sectors. The study of more than 4.5 million savers by Legal & General found the gender pensions gap exists regardless of average pay across different sectors, and ranges from a gap of 59% in the healthcare industry, to 13% in courier services.
The healthcare (59%), construction (51%), real estate/property development (48%), pharmaceutical (46%), aerospace, defence and government services (46%), and senior care (45%) sectors were found to have the largest gender pensions gaps. Of these six sectors, three are key industries for female employment – healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and senior care. Leisure, travel and tourism, and charity both came in at 29%.
On average, the research found, women’s pensions are half the size of men’s (£12,000 versus £26,000). Reasons range from women holding fewer senior positions and being paid less, resulting in lower pensions contributions, to the fact they are more likely to take career breaks due to caring responsibilities. Of those that have taken a career break, 38% did not know the financial impact it had on their pension contributions.
Katharine Photiou, Commercial Director of Workplace Savings at Legal & General said:
“We looked at data from over four million workplace members and found that every industry in the UK has a significant gender pensions gap. This is a serious issue in itself, but it deepens when life expectancy is taken into consideration too.
“We’ve all heard about the gender pay gap, but very few discuss the gender pensions gap, despite the fact so many women experience it. This shows more needs to be done to boost engagement with pensions, particularly with those who feel less confident, and who may need help on where to start when it comes to making financial decisions.
“Millions of people would benefit from a wider range of support services to make more informed decisions about their savings and investments. But this support needs to be personalised to achieve any real shift, and this is where government and industry need to work together. Pensions can seem complicated but they’re just a regular savings plan with some tax perks. We need to demystify pensions and get back to basics.”
Legal & General is calling for all companies and pension providers to disclose their gender pensions gap, to raise awareness of it and work together to help close it across all sectors.