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Almost half of employees in DC pensions don't know how much they are saving for retirement, says Scottish Widows

Almost half of employees in a defined contribution (DC) scheme do not know what they are contributing towards retirement, according to a study of 5,200 employees, published this morning by Scottish Widows.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of non-retired people have a private pension, yet a significant proportion are uncertain about what it will provide them. Over a quarter (28%) don't know how much, or even if, they are contributing to their workplace pension scheme, and 38% have no idea how much their employer contributes.

But while employees may not fully understand their pension scheme, 56% see it as a reason to stay with their current employer, and consider the pension offered by a prospective new employer before bonus potential, flexitime, a company car and overtime pay.

Seven out of 10 want their employer to not only provide a pensions scheme but also make contributions. And when asked what support they want, 40% of employees wanted their employer to provide full financial advice, while 55% want general information and guidance. For those without a pension, the introduction of auto-enrolment and NEST will help improve the savings landscape, particularly for those working for smaller businesses who may not have access to a pension currently. However, 75% say they will save under £50 per month, which is significantly less than the amount required for a comfortable retirement.

Pete Glancy, head of corporate pension propositions at Scottish Widows, said: "It is clear that there is a gap in financial education about pensions and other benefits in the workplace and many employees expect a lot more from their employer than just access to a pension scheme.

"More advice and guidance is needed, not only to increase the number of people who are not saving, but also to ensure that those who are contributing are making the most of their benefits. In many cases, these benefits are unappreciated and not understood. With the appropriate support their retirement years can be transformed at very little personal cost

"Auto-enrolment is just around the corner and could give employee savings an enormous boost. The level of success will depend on the effectiveness of the employee engagement in the workplace. Employee engagement is at its most effective when it is personalised to the needs and aspirations of individual employees.

"Often pensions are seen as too complicated yet the messages could be quite simple. Positioning a company pension as 'deferred pay' could increase appreciation to the value of this benefit."

The Scottish Widows UK Workplace Pensions Report is based on an online sample of 5,200 UK adults. The research was conducted by YouGov.