All eyes are currently on the pension gender pay gap. There have been recent articles written about this issue which have really evidenced the disparities when it comes to pension payments between men and women.
The Guardian reported on 27th May 2023 that the trade union Prospect believes that the percentage difference in pensions for females and males between 2020-21 is 40.5%. A report from the Pensions Policy Institute states that when women reach their 60s, the median women’s pension wealth is £51,100 and men will have tripled their wealth at the rate of £156,500.
The Independent wrote on 14 March 2023 that there is an average of £7,000 annual deficit in pensions for women compared to their male counterparts. Unfortunately, these figures are not truly reflective of all women.
The People’s Pension noted ‘On average the gap in pension income between a female pensioner from an ethnic minority group and a male pensioner from a white ethnic group is 51.4%’.
Scottish Widows’ recent Women and Retirement Report evidencedthat one in five (21%) Black women are ineligible for auto-enrolment pension schemes as they do not meet the £10,000 earning criteria, compared with 17% of South Asian women and just 4% of white women.
The Scottish Widows’ report also noted that once in employment, ethnic minority women are then affected by the gender pay gap – with women in the UK earning almost £10,000 less than men, as the average male salary is £36,000 compared with the average female salary of £25,000, according to the research.
I have been aware of the pension Ethnicity Pay Gap for about 3 years. I am yet to see any media discussion on this topic. It has always been clear to me that the Ethnicity Pay Gap can be seen on entry into employment right up until the end of the working life cycle. It is important for discussions to happen to recognise that the Ethnicity Pay Gap has to be addressed holistically.
What steps can organisations take to change the deficit in payments when it comes to pensions? They can firstly review what is currently going on in their organisations. They should be making a concerted effort to take a more equitable stance on pension payments. Organisations need to be transparent about the way they calculate pensions and to eradicate any practices that leave their staff financially out of pocket.
We cannot continue to have differences in pay between genders or races. It is discriminatory to pay women differently than men and it is also discriminatory to pay people differently because of their race. It is time that we take real action on this.
Fight for mandatory reporting and action on the Ethnicity Pay Gap