Women’s financial preparedness for their retirement has only marginally improved globally since 2014, a report by Dutch insurer Aegon has suggested.
Aegon’s Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR), in a collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and the Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon in Brazil, suggested that global readiness had improved to 5.8 from 5.5 on a scale of 0 to 10.
The study, spanning 15 countries in Europe – including the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany – the Americas, Asia and Australia, concluded that only 21% of female workers believe they are on a course to achieve their retirement income needs.
It said that many of the issues explored six years ago remain true today, with a persistent gender pay gap being among the most important challenges.
Traditional social norms and gender roles were also placing women at a disadvantage in terms of saving and planning for retirement, Aegon added.
“Women are more likely than men to take extended periods of time out of the workforce or work part-time, limiting both their ability to save and foregoing the wider benefits of full-time employment,” it pointed out.
The report recommends broadening women’s access to workplace retirement plans by also including those working part-time and on zero-hours contracts, and proposes improved financial advice, both inside and outside the workplace.
It noted that, promisingly, women in general outperform men in healthy behaviour, enabling them to work and save longer for retirement.
However, as women tend to live longer than men, it also implies the need to prepare for longer retirement and more saving, it said.
The report showed that women’s preparedness for retirement in the UK had improved by 0.2 to 5.8, whereas the situation in Germany had deteriorated by 0.2 to 5.8. Approximately one-third of female workers in both countries are in part-time employment.
The Netherlands, where no less than 47% of women work part-time, showed an improvement of 0.1 to 5.4. The largest advancement was made in Spain, where women’s financial readiness for retirement rose by 0.7 to 5.2.
The situation in Hungary and Poland improved by 0.5 and 0.3 to 5.2 in both countries.
No improvement was found in China, while women’s financial perspectives for retirement had declined in Canada. Japan showed an advancement of 0.3 to 4.7.
The researchers surveyed 16,000 workers and retirees, half of them being female.