It has been announced by ministers that young people aged 18 to 21 who are earning £10,000 or more will now be automatically enrolled into workplace pension schemes so that they can start saving for their retirement. This comes at a time when housing costs are on the rise, wages are decreasing and many young people are struggling with student debt. It’s therefore important to look at the impact of this decision upon 18-21 year olds and how they view this recent change.
Extending the workplace pension to 18-21 year olds could potentially lead to a reduced pensions bill for the government in the future, and encourage improved saving behaviours amongst young people through automatic enrolment. However, the value of this change from the perspective of the target group is less clear in terms of how significantly they consider workplace pension offerings. Specifically, whether the value and provision of a workplace pension is considered when looking for employment and how it compares to other benefits being offered as incentives to join a firm.
Saving for a pension is frequently put forward as a necessity in today’s working environment, and employees of all ages are encouraged to consider retirement funding. However, when an employee is on a low income (below £15,000) the impact of funding a pension can be high, particularly if they are also struggling with other financial burdens. With the potential inclusion of 18-21 year olds in workplace pensions, there is therefore a potential that there may be socio-economic factors which impact on how this change in the regulations is viewed by young people and whether they view it positively or negatively.
In the UK, the expectation of the population has been that they will be provided with a state pension at retirement. However, with an ageing population and an increasing pensions bill, the government introduced workplace pensions to encourage personal saving and responsibility. With the inclusion of 18-21 year olds into workplace pension schemes, there is a potential that views on how funding retirement will be changed within this group. IN particular whether a workplace pension is their preferred option or whether they believe in investment or other forms of retirement funding. savings is better than a pension or whether the workplace pension will be sufficient.
With today’s labour market being highly flexible and the notion of a job for life no longer widely considered, many young people who are just joining the employment market may have multiple jobs. This means that their combined income may be sufficient for enrolment into the workplace pension scheme (i.e. over £10,000) but each individual employment does not. Their inclusion into workplace pensions could influence the way that young people consider flexible working and how they fund their pension planning and there is a value in understanding how young people view the flexibility of these schemes.
The government wishes to encourage young people to save for retirement and as part of this is including 18-21 year olds in workplace pensions schemes. However, for many young people retirement may feel like a long way off and not something they wish to consider, and therefore their motivation for saving and interest in pensions may not be strong. The aim of this work is to identify how 18-21 year olds view pensions, including their beliefs regarding a need to save for retirement, and how much personal responsibility they believe they should have for achieving this, against how much support the government and their employers should provide.
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