New research has found that at all stages of their career, British women face a gender pension gap that rapidly grows with age.

Data from Legal & General (L&G) pension scheme members shows that women have lower pension pot sizes in all age brackets, with the situation dramatically deteriorating as they approach retirement.

At the beginning of a woman’s career, the gender pension gap is at 17 percent, but this rises to a staggering 56 percent at retirement compared to men.

This is even the case in female-dominated industries, with the pension gap remaining just as stark.

The research found that in the Senior Care sector, well over three quarters (85 percent) of pension scheme members are women, but the average woman’s pot size is around half (47 percent) the size of the average man’s.

L&G also analysed the size of pension pots of more than 37,000 people who retired in 2020.

Whilst the average size of a woman’s pension pot is £10,000, men’s is more than double, at £21,000.

This comes after a report cited by the BBC in 2018 found that women faced an 11 per cent smaller pension pot than their male counterparts by the time they retired, which was attributed to motherhood and caring obligations.

Speaking about addressing the pay and pension gap, Stuart Murphy, Co-Head of DC at Legal & General Investment Management says:

The gender pay and pension gap is a complex issue that will take time to solve.

We need to see increased support from the state and employers in levelling the playing field by looking at issues such as lowering the eligibility age and raising the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment, as well as addressing the pay gap for part time employees

Alongside this, Rita Butler Jones, Co-Head of DC at Legal & General Investment Management commented:

Much like the Gender Pay Gap in wages, the Gender Pension Gap is fast becoming an issue which needs to be higher on our radars as an industry.

This analysis of more than 4 million of our members reveals the extent of the gender pension gap in the UK – a gap that exists right from the very beginning of a woman’s career and accelerates as she approaches retirement.


*The analysis is based on LGIM’s proprietary data on c4 million defined contribution members as at 6 April 2021