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Pensions - are we saving enough for the future?

Are we ready for retirement?

This blog was written ahead of Pensions Awareness Day 2019

While we are living and working longer, it would seem that most of us are not saving enough for the future.

As employers we have a responsibility (and legal obligation in some cases) to provide our employees with a workplace pension. This isn’t the sort of HR that makes people feel warm and fuzzy inside, not does it necessarily play to the strengths of a typical HR generalists’ skills set. Schemes need regular review and employee communication is required to make sure options are understood and the value of the benefit is realised.

To mark the UK’s national Pension Awareness Day on 13 September 2019, we would like to share some thoughts on pensions in the maritime industry. A group session facilitated by Ivan Laws from Ensign Pensions at the 2019 Spinnaker Maritime HR Conference identified:

Pensions are often placed on the ‘too difficult’ pile

  • Shipping companies are often global companies – each country has its own pension regulations and local schemes.
  • Companies may promote mobility of their staff but staff may not want to move as they want to protect their local pension contributions.

We aren’t totally prepared for our ageing workforce

  • The ageing population & increase in life expectancy affects all industries and means that there is more pressure on having a good pension pot.
  • However, the younger generation are not felt to be interested or aware about the importance of their pension.

There’s still lots of uncertainty

  • The responsibility for ensuring employees are aware of the importance of pension contributions could be down to the employer or the individual.
  • While employers need to make sure the employee is aware of the pension scheme they are signed up to, many employees are felt to be unaware of how their pension contributions are being invested.

We’re tempted to play it safe

  • Companies often opt for the default option when choosing a scheme (typical of private pension schemes too) and generally do not explain the chosen pension scheme to their employees.
  • Employers need to strike a balance between the short and long term financial needs of staff; deciding how much of the total reward pot to assign to pensions remains a challenge.
  • Employees are felt to be nervous about enrolling in schemes following media coverage of firms collapsing with huge pension deficits, but the use of apps to monitor the performance of the investment of pension funds may help engage the employee in the scheme.

The next Spinnaker Maritime HR conference will take place in London in May 2020. Email us to secure your place.

You can also find out more about Ensign’s pension plan – designed specifically for employees in the maritime industryhere.

Sarah Hutley, HR Consultant, Spinnaker Global

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