Women’s Enterprise Scotland warns of ‘pensions time bomb’ for female bosses

Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) has warned of a ‘pensions time bomb’ amongst the nation’s women business leaders after it’s latest survey revealed that 60% were not paying into a pension and 40% of those not paying had no pension provision at all.

Women's Enterprise Scotland warns of 'pensions time bomb' for female bosses

The survey found that the ack of pension provision was greatest for women operating as sole traders, with 46% having made no provision for a pension at all, which is higher than the 35% of the whole adult population who say they don’t have a pension.

The pay figures from the WES survey showed that 53% of respondents were paying themselves a salary of £15,000 or less and 12% were getting a salary of £30,000 or less.

The gender pay gap in enterprise is complex, with similar issues to the mainstream labour market, including occupational segregation, under-employment and the under-capitalisation of work done by women.

A total of 90% of women-owned businesses who responded to the survey said they wanted to grow their business but 48% said access to finance was a challenge. 65% of those surveyed had used their own savings to support the business which may be limiting their ability to save for a pension.

Carolyn Currie, chief executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, said: “There’s no shortage of ambition amongst Scotland’s women business owners but access to finance continues to be an issue. This lack of access to capital could potentially be hampering both business growth and the ability of women business owners to pay into a pension, creating a time bomb of pensions poverty which needs urgently addressed.”

“The gender pension gap in the UK is hugely troubling and cannot be ignored. Women-owned businesses could benefit from needs-based, gender-specific business support, along with changes at a policy level to tackle issues such as pension provision during time away from work to meet caring commitments. Targeted action is required to ensure that whether in paid employment or running a business, women have the pensions provision in place that they need to avoid facing poverty in old age.”

Jamie Jenkins, head of global savings policy at Standard Life Aberdeen, added: “Automatic enrolment has ensured millions more women are saving into a workplace pension with the benefit of an employer contribution. However, there is still much to be done and work is ongoing to try and find a way of extending this success to the self-employed. This research further demonstrates the need to make progress in this area quickly.”

Share icon
Share this article: