As we approach the 5th anniversary of the introduction of automatic enrolment (1st October, 2017), the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association highlights how far we have come:

  • Since 2012, 7.6 million more people have been automatically enrolled into workplace pensions1
  • The proportion of eligible private sector employees who save into a workplace pension increased by more than a third from 42% (2012) to 73% (2016);
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) of all employers support the policy of automatic enrolment with this proportion rising to 92% amongst large employers;
  • More than triple (63% – 2016) the number of people in th
  • We have also seen a significant uplift (37% in 2012 to 7e private sector who earn between £10,000 and £20,000 are saving into a pension now compared to 2012 (20%); 1% in 2016) in the proportion of people on the average UK income (i.e. who earn between £20,000 and £30,000) saving into a pension;
  • More than four out of five (82%) of employees say they have heard of automatic enrolment;
  • Since 2012, £405bn has been saved into workplace pensions – of which, £119bn are employee contributions, £247bn are employer contributions and £39.2bn is tax relief.

Graham Vidler, Director of External Affairs at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association commented:

“Automatic enrolment is a huge success story which has seen the number of people who save into a workplace pension increase significantly. Our members have been at the forefront of the successful delivery of this initiative and we regularly hear how automatic enrolment is transforming people’s retirement aspirations.

“The concept has also entered the national psyche with more than four out of five employees saying they have heard of automatic enrolment and almost three-quarters of employers supportive of this policy. While it has naturally helped people at all salary levels, it is particularly pleasing to see that more than triple the number of private sector employees on average earnings (between £10,000 and £20,000 per year) are now proactively saving for retirement.


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“The successful introduction of automatic enrolment has taken a significant amount of hard work from all parties with Government working closely with industry. However, we cannot rest on our laurels and it is now time to consider how we can build on this legacy. From April 2018, we will see contribution rates increase to 5% of qualifying earnings and then in April 2019, rates will increase to 8%. Government and industry must work together to ensure people realise the value of their contributions and do not opt-out.

“While these increases are a step in the right direction, our retirement income adequacy analysis suggests that minimum contributions need to increase to about 12% during the course of the 2020s. The decision on how and when to increase automatic enrolment contributions should be taken once the initial phase of increasing contributions to 8% has been completed. This will allow Government to see what lessons, if any, can be learnt before raising them further. We look forward to working with our members, the industry and Government to achieve this objective.”