One in three people (31%) accepted a new job with no idea about whether it came with a pension, meaning they ignored a benefit that’s typically worth thousands of pounds a year, the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has warned.
Its latest survey, run by pollsters Populus, showed that 25% started their first day in a new job not knowing if a pension was on offer, while 6% signed an employment contract ignorant about the pension provision.
The situation is not helped by employers, who are not doing enough to mention their pension, the NAPF said. Its latest analysis of job adverts found that only one in 12 carries any pension information at all.
With the Government estimating that 14 million people are set to suffer an inadequate retirement income, the NAPF is urging employers and the HR profession to make pensions a bigger part of the recruitment process.
Joanne Segars, NAPF Chief Executive, said:
“It’s deeply worrying that so many people start a new job clueless about whether a pension is on offer. And sadly employers aren’t doing enough to help them.
“Britain is facing a crisis when it comes to saving enough for its retirement. People need to wake up to the fact that some workplace pensions are worth a huge chunk of annual pay.
“Jobseekers need to know whether a pension is on offer, and they need to be aware as early as possible so that they can make an informed decision.
“Employers have got to do more to ‘mention the pension’ and they must be more explicit in disclosing its terms. They should specify the type of pension and the employer contribution, which might be anything from zero to well over 20% of annual salary.”
In addition to the Populus poll, the NAPF ran its own separate, in-house study of 280 job adverts from newspapers, magazines and job websites. It found only one in 12 (8%, or 23 adverts) said anything about pension provision. Yet seven out of ten (68%) were specific about the salary on offer.
The study uncovered only two job adverts which were clear about the contribution rate made by employers – a woeful 0.7% of the sample.
Ms Segars added:
“Auto-enrolment into a pension from 2012 means it is even more important for employers to start being more upfront about their pension.
“Those who are offering pensions above the minimum auto-enrolment requirements have a clear interest in shouting about it to attract the best staff.
“Eight out of ten employees told us that they would be more likely to apply for a job if it offered a good pension.”
Employers looking to show potential staff that they offer a good pension could use the Pension Quality Mark (PQM), which is only given to pension schemes that meet strict minimum standards of contribution, communication and governance.
Over 120 pension schemes now qualify for the PQM and 250,000 active scheme members are now covered by pensions that carry the Mark. The employers involved include household names like Heineken, Kellogg’s and Vodafone.
The Populus poll also showed that 81% of employees said they would be more likely to apply for a job if it offered a good company pension. And 91% of employees think that firms should be clearer about pension arrangements when they are recruiting.