Social media is a big part of our digital lives – so much so that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is tapping in to reach the whole of the UK’s workforce including audiences it has, in the past, struggled to reach, such as young people.
Last month, as reported by PR Week, the DWP launched a campaign to highlight the importance of workplace pensions to persuade more people to save through auto-enrolment, by using a range of social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter as well as celebrities including one from TV’s Dragons Den.
The aim of the ‘You work, your pension works’ campaign by DWP and The Pensions Regulator, is to increase participation and compliance in workplace pensions by employees and employers.
Gillian Hudson, head of pensions campaigns at DWP, said: "The aim of this [campaign] is to invite people to explore pension saving through digital services, and to ultimately reposition the pension from something complex and best ignored, to something on your side that you should get to know."
The campaign encourages people to take on workplace pensions because its value increases as you work and when the employee contributes, the employer pays in too.
In parallel, employers are told that legally they must provide a workplace pension to all staff, even if they employ just one person.
Aon’s senior corporate pension consultant David Parfett adds some context, highlighting the importance of the forthcoming increases in minimum contributions.
“Since the introduction of auto-enrolment, employees have had to pay in just 1% of their income above a certain threshold (currently £5,876), which after tax relief works out at only 0.8% of pay. Employers have had to pay in 1% of the worker’s salary, so in total, just 2% of salary has been going in since auto enrolment began,” he said.
“From April next year, the minimum total contribution rises to 5% (3% from the employee) and in April 2019 it jumps to 8% (5% from the employee). The effect will be that by April 2019 someone earning £26,500 will have seen their contribution increased from the currently minimum employee monthly contribution of £17.67 jump fivefold to £88.33 which will suddenly become much more noticeable, particularly with the risk of inflation rising at above pay increases and the possibility of further interest rate rises.
“I think the DWP therefore should be using all forms of media to reach out to the widest audience possible to hammer home the importance of saving for retirement, otherwise we run the risk of a huge increase in the number of people opting-out of pensions all together.”
The campaign, which runs for seven weeks, using the slogan ‘Get to know your pension’, will gain recognition as social media users apply the hashtag #yourpension on social channels Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The success of the campaign will be measured by tracking research by Ipsos Mori to understand the public’s attitudes towards workplace pensions and the communications campaign.
The DWP will use the information to understand opt-out and compliance rates with workplace pensions among firms and staff.