6 in 10 hospitality and agricultural workers not paying into pension

More than half of workers in some industries are not being automatically enrolled into a pension because they earn less than the £10,000 threshold for inclusion, a TUC report has found.

Describing the gaps in coverage as ‘pension blackspots’, TUC analysis shows that in industries such as hospitality and agriculture, six in 10 workers are not enrolled in a pension.

Nearly 9 million UK workers are still unable to save into a pension scheme because their salaries are too low to make them eligible for auto-enrolment.

The five industries with the lowest level of pension cover are agriculture, forestry and fishing; hospitality; other services (hairdressing and beauty); construction; and arts and entertainment.

The TUC also found that in low-paid sectors, like wholesale and retail, nine out of 10 savers receive contributions worth less than 8 per cent of salary from their employer. That compares to higher-earning industries like financial services where the vast majority of savers receive more than 8 per cent in contributions.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady says: “Auto-enrolment has been a great success. But it’s not a case of ‘job done’.

“Millions remain at risk of poverty in retirement because they are saving nothing, or very little, in a pension scheme.

“We urgently need the government to help more low-paid workers join schemes. And ministers must set out a plan for increasing contributions from employers.”

The five industries with the lowest pension provision

Industry Number of workforce without pension % of workforce without pension
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 93,000 65.4
Accommodation and food service activities 908,000 59.5
Other service activities 270,000 55.7
Construction 493,000 50.5
Arts, entertainment and recreation 253,000 48.2

Source: ONS