Women would need to work an additional 18 years full-time to save the same amounts of money into their pensions as men, research suggests.
Women aged 65 will typically have accumulated £69,000 in private pension wealth, compared with average men’s savings of £205,800, according to workplace pension provider Now: Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI).
With women living on average four years longer than men, they need to save more throughout their lifetime to accommodate longer periods in retirement, the report said.
Millions of women have not been able to save via a workplace pension, nor take advantage of their employer contributions and the tax relief
Joanne Segars, NOW: Pensions
Just 27% of women work mostly full-time throughout their careers, compared with 45% of men, researchers said.
Women spend an average of 10 years away from the workforce to start families and care for children and relatives, contributing to both the gender pay and pensions gaps by presenting fewer opportunities for career progression and higher salaries.
Childcare costs are also a hindrance to many working households and many women do not earn enough in a single job to meet the £10,000 earnings trigger to be automatically placed in a workplace pension.
Joanne Segars, head of trustees at Now: Pensions said: “Millions of women have not been able to save via a workplace pension, nor take advantage of their employer contributions and the tax relief.”
Anna Whitehouse, founder of Flex Appeal, said: “If women did not work flexibly and take on caring responsibilities, the economy would crumble.”
Joeli Brearly, Pregnant Then Screwed founder, said: “We will only close the gender pension gap when women have equal access to the labour market.”
A Government spokesperson said: “Automatic enrolment has helped millions more women save into a pension, with participation among eligible women in the private sector rising from 40% in 2012 to 86% in 2020 – equal to that of men.
“Our plans to remove the lower earnings limit for contributions and to reduce the eligible age of being automatically enrolled to 18 in the mid-2020s will enable even more women to save more and start saving earlier.”