Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Occupational pensions: a question of social class?

9 April 2018

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Workers from the most advantaged social backgrounds are six times more likely than their least advantaged counterparts to be a member of an occupational pension scheme. In a new Working Paper from the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies researchers Myer Glickman, Mel Bartley and David Blane use information from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to look at the variation in pension scheme membership between people from different social classes. 

The researchers believe the large social class differences they found in both the public and private sectors may, in reality, be even larger. This is because the survey they used does not include the lowest paid 10 per cent of the workforce and also because occupational pensions vary with the level of a person's salary or wage during the years of their working life.

Lead researcher Myer Glickman from UCL commented: "This six-fold difference in the likelihood of the most and least advantaged workers being in a pension scheme is extremely worrying especially as most of us will depend heavily on this income and/or the State Pension for around a third of our life."