In 2012, the proportion of employees who belonged to a workplace pension scheme was 46%, the lowest since 1997 when the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) started to collect the information (Figure 1). In 1997 membership was 55%. At 48%, membership was higher in 2011 than in 2012.
Although membership was 46% overall in 2012, there was a significant difference between the public and private sectors:
83% of public sector employees were members of a workplace pension scheme;
32% of private sector employees were members of a workplace pension scheme.
The fall in the percentage of employees with a workplace pension between 1997 and 2012 has been driven mainly by the fall in membership of defined benefit occupational schemes from 46% to 28% (Figure 2).
Membership of defined contribution occupational pension schemes also fell slightly, from 9% in 1997 to 7% in 2012. However, membership of group personal and stakeholder pensions increased substantially over the same period, from 1% in 1997, before stakeholder pensions were introduced, to 10% in 2012.
Although membership of defined benefit occupational pensions has declined, in 2012 it was still the largest category accounting for 60% of employees with a workplace pension.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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