LONDON, 14 June 2021 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has said that responses to the 11th edition of its UK Benefits & Trends Survey highlight pension schemes’ reluctance to embrace new forms of communication to members.
Aon’s 2021 UK Benefits & Trends Survey reveals that email - used by 71% of respondents - is still the most common form of communication used by workplace pensions for educating and engaging with members. This a disappointing finding at a time when there are many other ways available to schemes and employers.
The results also show a drop in other key engagement methods. Communication with members via an online self-service portal dropped from 66% last year to 56% in 2021, while face-to-face presentations fell from 53% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. However, there was an increase in video and recorded presentations, up from 13% in last year’s survey to 21% this year. Access to pension (40%) and retirement planning (34%) seminars remains the most popular financial education service offered to employees.
Martin Parish, UK Lead, Workplace Pensions & Financial Wellbeing at Aon, said: “It’s a concern to find that email remains the most used form of communication when there are so many more varied and targeted options available. It’s vital that employers and schemes don’t waste the opportunity to engage with employees throughout their careers. It’s the only way that employees can better understand how their pension plan can offer financial resilience, financial confidence and, hopefully, financial freedom at retirement.
“2020 undoubtedly caused many people distress on pension-related matters, with investment volatility and reduced pension contributions due to furlough or changed retirement plans all becoming issues. While employers can provide access to a range of material and information which will support their efforts to build a more resilient workforce, 35% of them do not offer any form of financial education at all. And that is at odds with the 61% of employers who agree that they are responsible for influencing employee financial wellbeing.”
While there has been a small increase in employers reviewing their pension schemes since the introduction in 2015 of Pension Freedoms, up from 69% last year to 72% in 2021, 12% of respondents have still not reviewed this aspect of their pension scheme.
Martin Parish said:
“A significant number of employers have not reviewed their pension schemes since 2015, potentially meaning they are operating arrangements which are not geared to optimising employee retirement outcomes. They may also be missing a vital opportunity for ensuring their workplace pension strategy remains fit for purpose.
“There are some key reasons why reviewing workplace pension strategy can contribute to reducing corporate and people risk. These include the drive to embrace Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment principles that are aligned with wider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives, the need to understand employees’ ability to retire through outcome modelling and the impact on high earners with restrictive pension allowances. It’s therefore encouraging that 32% of employers are planning to review their pension scheme in the next 12 months.”
Find out more about the Aon 2021 UK Benefits and Trends Survey here.
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.
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