Women’s pensions ‘half the size of men’s’, report finds

Pay gap is being compounded by unaffordable childcare, high rent and divorce

Men’s pensions are worth more than double their female counterparts when they retire, new research has shown.

Data from 2021 analysed by insurer Legal & General revealed a “gender pension gap” of 16pc between men and women at the start of their careers, reaching 55pc by the time they retire.

The firm studied the pension pots of more than 50,000 British people who retired in 2021. The average amount saved by women was £12,000, while the equivalent of a male retiree at the same age was more than twice that – at £26,000.

Rita Butler-Jones, of Legal & General, said less than 1pc of women had a “large pot” when they stopped work. This gap was due to a number of reasons, such as women taking time out of the workforce for maternity leave, childcare, or caring for the elderly.

Women were also more likely to work part-time jobs, Ms Butler-Jones said, with 41pc of women in part-time work compared to 13pc of men. Even for those in full-time work, the current gender salary gap is estimated to be 15.4pc.

The issue has been compounded by unaffordable child care, high rent and mortgages. With 42pc of marriages ending in divorce, women are increasingly less able to rely on a partner's pension, Ms Butler-Jones added.

The importance of menopause has also been a recent consideration,” she said. “Women are retiring early because they don’t feel supported during that phase of menopause.”

Ms Butler-Jones said it was up to companies and industry bodies to address the gap, “particularly around the issue of menopause”, also suggesting employers embrace shared parental leave.

“Some companies pay full pension when a parent is on leave, but not across the UK,” she said. “What is critical now is that we continue raising this so it doesn’t get forgotten.”