Companies feel weight of pensions responsibility

Nine out of ten UK employers now feel they have a social responsibility to educate staff about their retirement provision, according to a newly-published audit of FTSE 350 firms.

However, while more than half do offer a financial education service, 56% of the employers claimed that less than a fifth of their workforce take advantage of the information provided, the JPMorgan INVEST research reveals.

Furthermore, in spite of good intentions, employers don’t want to fight the crisis alone. When asked who, in order of importance, should be responsible for pensions, employees came top (52%), followed by the government (34%) with employers trailing at 14%.

The survey shows that only 15% of employers want tomorrow’s Pensions Commission report to make pension contribution compulsory, favouring an increase in the pension age (28%) or a combination of tax, age and pensions (52%). In fact only 4% think compulsion will be the recommendation of the report.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, director at JPMorgan INVEST, said: “It’s encouraging that 58% of firms are looking at reviewing pension options. However it is concerning that while many feel a responsibility to educate the workforce, few are doing so effectively.

“The government and industry need to address educating employees in the workplace as a vital tool in combating the pensions crisis long term. Additional measures need to be taken to ensure this education isn’t falling on deaf ears.”

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