Some occupations saving into pensions for the first time

Thousands of UK employees in jobs where it is not traditional to save into a pension scheme, including sales assistants, technicians and dinner ladies, are building up retirement savings for the first time, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Steve Webb

Its latest Annual survey of hours and earnings report found the sectors with the biggest rises in new pension savers, between 2011 and 2013, include sales and customer service, up 8%, an increase of 159,000 cashiers, sales assistants, supervisors and related roles.

Elementary occupations, such as security guards, cleaners and dinner ladies, saw a rise of nearly 5%, or 126,000 more employees, enrolled in a workplace pension scheme.

Caring and leisure occupations, such as caretakers, childcare assistants and travel agents, saw an increase of nearly 1%, or 23,000 more employees saving into a scheme.

Occupations where pension saving is more established have also seen a rise since 2011, including:

  • Managers, directors and senior officials, which increased from 31% to 35%.
  • Administrative and secretarial jobs, which rose from 17% to 20%. 
  • Skilled trade workers, which increased from 19% to 21%.
  • Associate professional and technical jobs, which increased 23% to 26%.
  • Professional jobs, which rose from 17% to 19%.

Steve Webb (pictured), pensions minister, said: “The tide is turning for pension saving in Britain after decades of decline. Automatic-enrolment is putting pension saving within reach of all workers, whatever job they have, including many on low to middle incomes. 

“For the first time, thousands of hardworking people with jobs or businesses that have not traditionally provided pensions can start saving with a contribution from their employer, helping them towards a more prosperous future and restoring fairness in retirement.”