Around three in five (61%) of women believe maternity will adversely affect pension saving, which is worrying for more than half of female employees.
New research from the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) found that most women are afraid that maternity leave would have an impact on their pension funds.
The survey’s findings corroborate those of a recent DWP study, which revealed that by the time women reach age 55, they have saved a third less for private pensions than men do.
According to the PMI poll, 61% of working women have taken a career break. Nearly all of these women have taken maternity leave, and of those who haven’t been at work in over a year, only 20% have been gone for more than five years. As a result, 54% of the women surveyed are concerned about how job pauses may affect their retirement.
Four out of ten (41%) women, according to the study, are worried about how job disruptions would affect pension accrual. Nearly 60 per cent of working women have no alternative retirement savings, thus they will rely on their pension savings for the majority of their retirement income.
The average pension savings for working women who are aware of their pension savings is £23,959. Only 36% of working women know how much they have saved in their pension. Only 4% of female employees have accumulated pension funds of at least £55,000.
PMI president Sara Cook said: “This survey exposes the concerns of many women about their retirement prospects. Women continue to believe they will be penalised through their role as mothers, and far too many are concerned about facing a bleak retirement as a consequence of raising children.”
Cook added: “The survey is clear that many women are very worried about how to combine the roles of motherhood and employee without suffering significantly in retirement. Nearly half of those surveyed believed that better childcare support would enable them to return to work – allowing them both to be more productive and to make better preparation for life when employment has ended.
“In Scandinavian countries, women do not suffer any loss of earnings as a consequence of maternity leave. It is disappointing that in 2023 women are still concerned about what they might have to sacrifice to bring up a family.
“If the root of the gender pensions gap is due to career breaks for women to bring up children, then at a societal level, the gender bias and widely held presumption that women should have the primary child-raising role needs to be addressed. This bias needs to be challenged so that both men and women have equal opportunity to care for their children without penalty.”