Eight in 10 UK employees support PLSA pension reform plan | PLSA
Eight in 10 UK employees support PLSA pension reform plan

Eight in 10 UK employees support PLSA pension reform plan

16 October 2023

More than eight out of 10 employees back the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA)’s recommended reforms to the UK pensions saving system to ensure savers do not see their living standards fall in retirement.

A PLSA survey of 1,600 non-retired UK adults shows significant support from the public for policy reform. Eighty-five per cent think workplace pensions should give people an adequate income in retirement, 87% believe pensions should be fair for all and 88% agree paying into a pension should be affordable for all savers.

The results are published as the pensions industry gathers in Manchester for the PLSA’s Annual Conference.

More than half (56%) of employees responding believe that a full State Pension of £10,600 will not provide enough income to enable them to avoid poverty in retirement. With this in mind, 72% of those surveyed agree the State Pension should increase in line with the triple lock and 78% agree it should increase so pensioners do not see their living standards fall.

When considering automatic enrolment reform, a majority of UK employees (53%) agree contribution levels should rise gradually over the next decade from 8% to 12%, with 21% of respondents unsure (neither agreeing nor disagreeing). Around half (46%) agree employers and employees should make equal pension contributions, while 42% believe the employer should contribute more. Under current automatic enrolment rules, employees contribute 5% of their qualifying earnings into a pension, while employers only contribute 3%.

The support for the PLSA’s proposals comes after several years’ work by the PLSA in developing policy recommendations to address the fact that 50% of savers would fail to meet retirement adequacy measures set by the 2005 Pensions Commission. In October 2022, the PLSA published a consultation, ‘Five Steps to Better Pensions’ , which asked for views from interested parties and stakeholders in a bid to build momentum for much needed pension reforms.


This week, the PLSA published its final proposals. These take account of the findings of the consultation, new research on adequacy, and the significant steps forward by the current Government – maintenance of the Triple Lock this year and passing into law a change to automatic enrolment saving so that, once regulations are passed, people will save from their first pound of earnings instead of only on income above £6,240 per year, and from age 18 instead of age 22.

Our Five Steps to Better Pensions are:

  • Set new goals for the UK pensions framework: adequate, affordable and fair.
  • The state pension should protect everyone from poverty and its value should be maintained by keeping the Triple Lock.
  • More people should be saving into a workplace pension and at higher contribution levels. Over the next decade contributions should rise gradually from 8% to 12%. While employees should only be required to put in 1% extra, we believe employers should put in 3% extra, with the result that by the early 2030s each will be paying an equal share of 6%.
  • Additional help should be given to under-pensioned groups such as women, the self-employed, gig economy workers and others. Some of these will require changes to automatic enrolment or other interventions.
  • The pensions industry and employers should take action to help people engage with pensions, receive higher contributions, or get better pension outcomes. This includes maintaining initiatives such as the Retirement Living Standards and the Pay Your Pensions Some Attention campaign.

Nigel Peaple, Director Policy & Advocacy, PLSA, said: “It is widely recognised that too many people are not saving enough for a good pension income. So, perhaps, it is no surprise that there is a high degree of support among employees for the key proposals of the PLSA’s Five Steps to Better Pensions.

“Employees want to know that the State Pension will protect them from poverty and that workplace pension saving will enable them to have an adequate income in retirement. The right way to achieve these goals is to maintain the value of the State Pension and by gradually increasing automatic enrolment contributions from 8% to 12% over the next decade. Most of this increase should fall on employers so that, a decade from now, contributions will be split evenly between employers and employees at 6% each.”

Emma Douglas, Chair of PLSA Board and Director of Workplace Pensions at Aviva, said: “While great strides have been made over the last decade towards improved pensions adequacy, much more needs to be done. The PLSA has sought to both deepen understanding of pensions inadequacy and come up with practical solutions.

“The rising cost-of-living has impacted everyone, and these policy recommendations are mindful not to increase the burden on savers in the near-term. But the survey shows that employees do value pension saving and want to be sure of achieving a reasonable standard of living in retirement. Now is the time to create a road map for reform for long-term savings.”


The research was conducted on behalf of the PLSA by Yonder Consulting from 15/09/23 to 17/09/23 with an overall sample size of 1600 non-retired adults, of which 1227 were in employment.

Mark Smith, Head of Media Relations
020 7601 1726 | [email protected]

Cali Sullivan, PR Manager
020 7601 1761 | [email protected]

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