The Pensions Regulator says more young people and women are saving thanks to auto-enrolment, according to new figures published today.

The findings are included in a report that examines the impact of auto-enrolment so far and the challenges ahead.

It also shows the gender gap in pensions saving has been significantly reduced with as many women as men now saving into a workplace pension.

The largest increases in participation have been seen among eligible employees in the youngest age groups.

In the private sector, the largest increase was seen in 22 to 29-year-olds – increasing from 24 per cent in 2012 to 84 per cent in 2018.

Last year participation levels increased to 85 per cent for both male and female eligible employees in the private sector.

Before 2012 there was a higher proportion of male employees participating in workplace pensions.

Also pension scheme participation increased by 12 percentage points for small employers and 20 percentage points for micro employers between 2017 and 2018.

Reacting to the figures, AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby says: “While the government is justified to some extent in lauding the success of automatic enrolment, the reforms are by no means a silver bullet to solve the UK’s retirement problems.

“The fact over 10 million people, many of whom are young and women, have been automatically enrolled into a pension since 2012 is to be celebrated, but average contributions remain painfully low.

“In 2018 the average contribution to a private sector defined contribution scheme stood at just 5 per cent, although this should increase following the rise in the auto-enrolment minimum contribution to 8 per cent of relevant earnings earlier this.

“However, even at this higher level most people will fall short of their retirement aspirations.”

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