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Pension pessimism as under half of workers believe they will be financially stable enough for a comfortable retirement

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Only 38% of workers believe they will have sufficient financial resources to live comfortably for 15 years into their retirement, according to research published today by professional services firm Towers Watson.

The Global Workforce Study (GWS) found that over half (52%) of British employees are worried about their future financial state amidst concerns over the ability to retire with sufficient income.

The survey of 32,000 employees worldwide, including over 2,600 UK workers, found that six out of 10 of UK workers claim retirement security has become a higher priority for them over the past three years, rising to 76% for workers over 40.

According to the GWS, UK workers are beginning to question the feasibility of their expected retirement age with nearly half (47%) now anticipating they will retire later than they previously thought and only 9% believing they will retire earlier than expected.

In a bid to build a positive savings culture, the Government's auto-enrolment, is expected to get more people saving for their retirement plans. Towers Watson claims its research reveals worrying statistics about how organisations are communicating their retirement benefits. Over a quarter (26%) of workers said that their employer's retirement benefits do not meet their needs and a fifth said employers do not do a good job of explaining their benefits programmes.

Tess Wishart, pensions and retirement communications lead at Towers Watson, said: "In our experience, we have never seen such an awareness and concern for retirement provisions from the workforce. People are clearly worried and by the same token any Government initiative that impacts on pay can be very emotive.

"Employees are becoming increasingly concerned about their future financial security so effective communication with them is vital if they are to feel confident that they are doing the right things to achieve a good outcome in retirement.

"It is very important for businesses that their employees grasp the value of the total reward package and auto-enrolment means more companies will be investing in retirement provisions for their employees."

Wishart added: "Many companies are going above and beyond the Government requirements for employer contributions but if they are not communicating this properly then employees are unlikely to be aware of, or understand, the extra value they are receiving and why they are contributing from their own salaries."

The Towers Watson GWS survey covers more than 32,000 employees selected from research panels that represent full-time employees working in large and midsize organisations across a range of industries in 29 markets around the world.