Don’t ask, Don’t tell – Pensions not on priority list for job hunters

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For immediate release: Friday 27 September 2013

  • A third (31%) wait until they start work to ask about pensions and fifth ‘wait to be told’ 
  • Over a quarter of young people have never thought to ask about their company’s pension
  • Young people rate holiday entitlement, bonuses and maternity leave ahead of pensions

Only a third (32%) of UK job hunters bother to ask a company about its pensions provision when interviewing for new jobs, according to research released today by NOW: Pensions. A further third (37%) admit they don’t even ask upon joining, either because it doesn’t occur to them (18%) or simply because they are waiting to be told (19%).

According to the study, young people are the least likely to think about pensions when looking for a new job. Over a quarter of young people (27%) have never thought to ask, while less than a fifth (18%) asked about pension provision at interview. On the flip side, pensions awareness increases exponentially for the over 55s, with almost half (42%) taking the time to ask the question of would-be employers upfront.

In terms of what job seekers do prioritise, three quarters (72%) rate holiday entitlement as the most important benefit, with less than half (49%) choosing pensions. This figure falls to less than a third (31%) when it comes to young people, who put pensions fourth on their priority list behind holidays (71%), bonuses (47%) and maternity pay and leave (33%).

Young people are also the most interested in short-term perks like duvet days, with over a quarter rating these compared to less than one in 10 of over 55s.  By contrast, those aged 55 + have the most interest in the quality of the pension (61%) but still put it second to holiday (68%).

Morten Nilson, CEO of NOW: Pensions said: “With virtually every working person in the UK set to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension over coming years, pensions are destined to become part of the fabric of working life, so it pays to know exactly what your employer is offering.

“The main question to ask prospective employers is what percentage of salary they will contribute to your pension. Think of their contributions as a pay rise so be sure to ask at interview stage, it should be as important as salary.”

Top five things people look for in a good workplace pensions scheme

High employer contribution levels 61%
Certainty of what I’ll receive in retirement 41%
Good governance – I want to know that somebody is looking after my interests 38%
Low charges 36%
Strong investment performance 34%
Wide choice of funds 17%

Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents say they would value education in the workplace about pensions. Of those, 53% think it should be delivered by an independent financial adviser and 43% say it should come directly from their employer. The pension providers themselves were the least popular choice, with only 23% of people thinking this was the best source of advice.

Morten Nilsson continued: “Remember it’s never too soon to start saving into a pension. Leave it longer to get saving and you will have to put more of your salary aside every month to catch up.”

Now: Pensions recommends asking a series of key questions at interview stage to get a clear view of the pensions provision:

  1. What is the level of employer and employee contributions to the pension scheme?
  2. What are the charges on the fund?
  3. What’s the fund performance like?
  4. What happens if I leave the company? Will I pay higher charges on my pension?

–     Ends     –

For further information:

Amy Mankelow
NOW: Pensions
Tel: +44 203 640 9075

Victoria Leyton
Lansons Communications
Tel: +44 207 294 3620

Notes for editors:

For the purposes of this press release:

Research conducted by Censuswide in September 2013 with 2,000 respondents.

‘Young people’ defined as 21 – 25 year olds

NOW: Pensions   


NOW: Pensions is a multi-employer trust. The investments are managed by NOW: Pensions Investments, a subsidiary of ATP in Denmark, and the administration is carried out by Paymaster, an established UK third party administrator.

The NOW: Pension Trustee Directors, whose role is to safeguard the interests of members, comprises well-known industry figures with different areas of expertise:

  • Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister
  • Imelda Walsh, former Group HR Director of Sainsbury’s
  • John Monks, member of House of Lords and former General Secretary of ETUC and TUC
  • Christopher Daykin, former Government Actuary
  • Win Robbins, former Head of European Fixed Income at Barclays Global Investors

NOW: Pensions is committed to developing a better workplace pension provision in the UK by offering a simple, high quality, cost efficient and systematically risk managed pension product that delivers better retirement savings for UK employees. With over 45 years’ experience providing Denmark’s working population with stable and consistent pensions returns, NOW: Pensions is set to transfer the knowledge acquired in Denmark to the UK pension market. Charges are just £1.50 per month administration charge (reduced administration charge of £0.30 – £1.00 to be applied during auto enrolment phasing for lower earners) plus a 0.3% annual product investment management charge, with no hidden charges.

In April 2013, NOW: Pensions became the first master trust to attain the NAPF’s new PQM Ready Standard. The benchmark shows employers that NOW: Pensions is a well governed pension scheme with low charges and good member communications.

The ATP Group

Arbejdsmarkedets Tillaegspension (ATP) / Danish Labour Market Supplementary Pension is a statutory pension fund. It was established as an independent entity in 1964 with the objective of ensuring a greater retirement income for the Danish population. ATP has since developed to become the largest pension fund in Denmark. Together with the tax-financed basic state pension, ATP provides basic income security in old age for the Danish population.

ATP covers almost the entire Danish population representing 4.8 million members and 160,000 employers. In addition to the ATP Scheme, the ATP Group administers a number of pension and social insurance schemes, including several for the Danish state.

The ATP Group total assets under management amounted to DKK 602bn/approximately GBP 67.5bn (i.e. guaranteed benefits: DKK 516bn/GBP 57.8bn + bonus potential: DKK 85bn/GBP 9.5bn) at 30 June 2013. ATP invests in a wide variety of assets globally. Investment categories are broadly: equities, interest rates, credit, inflation and commodities.

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NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods,