Workplace pension reforms stalled by lack of digital tools

A tablet to illustrate pension reforms hindered by lack of digital pools

Financial planning in association with Scottish Widows bannerMany employers lack the requisite digital resources to facilitate auto-enrolment and must seek help, experts caution

The government’s plans to get millions more people into its pension auto-enrolment scheme are being impeded by a shortage of time, training costs and lack of digital tools, say the business leaders charged with processing it.

One of the biggest restrictions is a drought of digital tools, with 39 per cent seeing better interactive digital systems as a key to mustering support amongst staff. A quarter of businesses (27 per cent) also bemoaned that they lacked the time to enrol their employees into the scheme, while others (23 per cent) cited the prohibitive costs of monitoring and training.

The survey, conducted by Aegon UK, also found that one in five employers (21 per cent) don’t view workplace pensions as a priority. When asked to rank HR responsibilities, encouraging pension engagement in the workplace came ninth, far behind staff welfare, payroll and staff training.

Despite this, the survey also found nearly all (95 per cent) of employers feel responsibility to help employees engage with their workplace pension.

“It’s clear that not all [businesses] are in a place to dedicate the time and resources needed to get their workforce ready for retirement,” said Angela Seymour-Jackson, managing director, workplace solutions at Aegon UK. “As the programme is rolled-out to the UK’s 4.9million businesses with under 50 employees, it’s vital that employers are properly armed to overcome the saving inertia associated with auto-enrolment.”

Lynn Graves, head of business development at Scottish Widows said: “Companies who fail to invest in tools to bolster employee engagement with pensions will lose customers to those embracing the digital revolution. SMEs in particular need access to robust guidance tools to help with decision making as they approach their staging date. Many may not have had access to any long term savings via the workplace prior to auto-enrolment, therefore education and guidance via providers becomes imperative.”

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