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​Swedish insurer reveals €395 monthly pension gender pay gap

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Women in Sweden receive an average SEK4,114 (€395) a month less in pensions than men, according to a new study from pensions and insurance company Länsförsäkringar.

The study, which references new income data collected by the government agency Statistics Sweden, revealed differences in income and pensions in seven careers for men and women.

The figure of SEK4,114 was based on an average of the seven occupational categories in the study.

Emma Persson, private economist at Länsförsäkringar, said: “The fact that we are discussing pay differences between men and women is good and important, but we must not get stuck there.

“We also need to discuss the factors that today make women’s lifetime incomes less than men’s, such as why women are in professions with lower wages and why women work part-time to a greater extent. This is what has major consequences for women’s finances here and now, and in the future.”

The company said that, according to figures from the Swedish National Mediation Office, women had nearly the same salary as men, but a real gap could be found in pensions that are based on an individual’s income.

The study attributed the difference to womens’ absence from the labour market, which includes factors such as the increased number of women in part-time work, but largely the fact that women take parental leave more frequently than men.

Women also use a greater amount of their available time off when they do take parental leave, using an average of 72%, according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Data published last week by UK defined contribution provider NOW: Pensions reported that its male members had saved an average £559 (€651) as of last year, while female members had saved on average £433 – a difference of £126. This pension saving gap had increased by more than a third since 2017, the company said.

“Women’s pension savings face a double whammy as women typically earn less and are more likely to work part time and take career breaks to care for children or elderly relatives,” said Amy Mankelow, director of communications at NOW: Pensions.

“Auto enrolment does little to address this inequality as millions of women are prevented from saving altogether as they earn less than the £10,000 auto enrolment trigger. This means that a large proportion of part-time workers, who are much more likely to be women, don’t have the opportunity to save in the first place.”

Additional reporting by Nick Reeve

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