Small firm employees ignore company pensions

UK - Only one in four small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say all eligible employees are making use of company pension arrangements.

In 37% of the cases, less than 25% of employees who could join a pension scheme offered by the company have actually done so.

A survey commissioned by Barclays Financial Planning of 200 UK companies of similar size found more than half of employers are worried their employees are not paying enough into their pension funds.

These employers also said they are actively encouraging their staff to increase contributions and almost half said they provide access to professional financial advice for employees.

However, on average there was not much difference between the amount employers paid into pension arrangements (4.82%) and how much employees contributed (4.78%).

Among the companies surveyed, 91% said they offer access to a pension scheme.  Barclays found 23% of employers and 19% of employees are not contributing to the pension arrangements.

Of the 200 companies surveyed, 16% offered a defined benefit final salary scheme, albeit one-third are closed to new members, while 70% had a defined contribution scheme in place and 12% are offered stakeholder pensions.

"There is a danger pension provision could be overlooked by employees in favour of more disposable income in the short term such as a higher pay packet," said Stephen Ingledew, commercial director for Barclays FP.

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