44% of Scots employees ‘optimistic about financial future’

More than 40% of Scots are feeling optimistic about their financial future. Picture: TSPL
More than 40% of Scots are feeling optimistic about their financial future. Picture: TSPL
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EMPLOYEES in Scotland are more optimistic about their future financial security than anywhere else in the UK, according to new research.

The latest Workplace Pensions Report from Scottish Widows found more than four in 10 (44 per cent) of employees in Scotland now feel optimistic about their long-term financial future, compared to 40 per cent in England, 42 per cent in Northern Ireland and 39 per cent in Wales.

The report also found that 57 per cent of Scots are now saving adequately for retirement, compared to an average of 56 per cent across the UK.

Four out of 10 Scottish workers (41 per cent) said their workplace pension will be an important income once they stop working, compared to 38 per cent of employees in the UK as a whole.

The findings suggest that the introduction of auto-enrolment, which makes it compulsory for employers to automatically enrol their eligible workers into a pension scheme, could be partly responsible for increased levels of optimism.

Automatic enrolment is being phased in, starting with the largest UK employers.

Lynn Graves, corporate pensions expert at Scottish Widows, said: “Three years since the introduction of auto-enrolment, employees in Scotland are really starting to reap the benefits of workplace pension savings, and this is clear from the promising levels of optimism employees are showing.

“However, as workers begin to understand the positive impact of auto-enrolment and feel more secure about their financial future, businesses need to ask themselves whether they are providing enough ongoing support to encourage staff to be more engaged with longer term savings.

“Our research shows that providing a workplace pension alone is becoming insufficient and employees are increasingly looking to employers to provide additional support and financial education to ensure that their staff are not only aware of the mechanics of auto-enrolment, but also making the most of workplace saving to secure a more comfortable retirement.”

The study found that more than half (52 per cent) of those enrolled in a defined contribution pension scheme said employer contributions are the main factor behind their decision to save into a company pension.

More than half (55 per cent) of employees in Scotland also see workplace pension schemes as an incentive when considering a career move.

More than a fifth (22 per cent) of workers in Scotland think employers should increase contributions by a little each year.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of workers also say employers should provide support on how to budget for retirement, while 35 per cent would welcome web-based tools and calculators to understand their personal future financial situation.

The Scottish Widows UK Workplace Pensions Report is based on an online sample of 5,191 UK adults conducted by YouGov between March 31 and April 8, 2015, including 562 in Scotland.