Understanding the Gender Gap in Retirement Planning in the UK

By: Roberta Adami  

The most recent reforms in the UK pension system are aimed at reducing state pension expenditure by placing more of the onus and responsibility for retirement income on to individuals. This move has shifted the balance towards private provisions further with possible adverse consequences on women for which, historically private pensions’ coverage rates are lower. Caring responsibilities, domestic roles and widespread economic inequality mean that women experience lower earnings and ability to contribute to private pension schemes as many opt for part-time work and / or experience interrupted work histories. The Pension Acts of 2007 and 2008 propose more extensive state pensions and encourage private savings to tackle women’ disadvantage in retirement, however academic studies so far have argued that the reforms may not bring about the expected benefits for women, especially for those living alone. This study uses data from the survey Understanding Society to assess and investigate gender differences in retirement planning and preparedness in the UK. The paper shows valuable new evidence on the significance of gender on retirement planning. Its findings contribute to the highly topical debate on gender income gap before and after retirement and imply that the current pension system in the UK is still inadequate to eradicate such gap.

Gender, Gap, Retirement, Planning, Pension, System
Economic and Demographic Perspectives on Aging
Focused Discussion

Roberta Adami

Senior Lecturer, School of Finance and Accounting, Westminster Business School, United Kingdom
United Kingdom