Half of older women will need to work beyond retirement age, poll finds

Research shows the majority of women over 45 have worked part time or taken career breaks, reducing or eliminating their pension contributions

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Half of women approaching retirement age believe they will have to continue working into their retirement, a poll has found, with the majority blaming career breaks for the shortfall.

The survey of 1,300 women over the age of 45, conducted by Working Wise, found 52 per cent did not believe their pensions would be enough for them to be financially independent in their retirement.

Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of respondents said their reduced pension payments were likely to be a result of going part time or taking a career break earlier on in their working lives, with two-thirds (64 per cent) saying that at some point they chose to stop paying into their pension altogether because they either went part time or took time off work. 


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Gillian Nissim, founder of Working Wise, said because women were more likely to have caring responsibilities, many reduce their hours which has the knock-on effect of reducing or eliminating pension payments.

“The moment women have caring responsibilities, their pensions start to come crashing down,” she said, noting that on average women could expect their pension income to be 38 per cent smaller than men on retirement.

The research, sponsored by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), found that the majority (83 per cent) of women have worked part time for at least part of their career, while a quarter (27 per cent) spent more than a decade working part time.


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A third (34 per cent) have needed to reduce their hours at work because of a health issue, while 28 per cent said the menopause has held back their progression.

It also found that caring responsibilities had affected the career progression of two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents.

The poll also found that reentering the workforce was challenging for some women; 31 per cent of those who needed to find a job in the last five years said that the process had been difficult, and of these women, half (49 per cent) said that age was a factor in holding them back.

Out of those currently employed, a quarter (25 per cent) said their current employer was unsupportive of older women in the workplace.

Nissim said employers needed to do more work to provide women with a better understanding of their pension savings: “That over 50 per cent of women will need to keep working beyond requirement is a huge wake-up call to the true impact that this pensions gap is having on women’s lives.”