International Women’s Day – Lowering the Pension Auto-enrolment age [by Annabel May]

Annabel May is currently undertaking a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship at New Schools Network. 

   Over the past few years’ apprenticeships have been revolutionised with the dynamic range of opportunities and the additional support of social media further highlights the amazing work that people are doing. Furthermore, with the additional funding of £3,000 from the government in the latest budget to hire an apprentice it is expected that the growth of apprenticeships will rapidly increase. I for one love doing my apprenticeship but the six percent apprentice gender pay gap does also have to be recognised and highlighted, especially on such an important day for the world, International Women’s Day. (Oppenheim, 2021).

    A further topic that I feel is greatly important to emphasise and discuss is PENSIONS. I know that most people reading this now are thinking that they may feel that retirement is a long time away although as Martin Lewis rightly stated – the earlier that you start saving into a pension the better. Only workers earning more than £10,000 – and aged between 22 and State Pension age – will be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employers (Automatic enrolment if you earn up to £10,000, 2021). Therefore, the thousands of apprentices under the age of 22 are missing out on saving this extra bit of money. Also 3 out of 4 of those people earning lower than the £10,000 threshold are women. With 85% of apprentices staying on at their full time employment after their apprenticeship has finished it seems ludicrous that they are missing out on this saving which could be the difference between them eating or going hungry upon retiring. There is the state pension which is  £175.20 per week, yet this is not a great amount of money to live off weekly especially if there was a home emergency. Putting into perspective the cost of a new boiler can be £500 upwards - this would take months of saving if someone was just living off the state pension wage.

    As it is International Women’s Day the fact that women earn 80% less than men over their lifetimes has great consequences on their pension contribution and retirement (Help to improve women’s financial resilience to secure a better future for all - CII - Insuring Women’s Futures, 2021). This is for a multitude of reasons and one way that we can help to ensure financial security upon retirement is to lower the pension auto enrolment age from 22 to 18 for apprentices. This will greatly benefit the economy as more money is being invested. Plus the endless positive reasons for the apprentice, for instance personally I would gain the greater importance of pensions from an early age. Additionally if I were to be out of work for any reason later on in life the pension contributions that I would have saved from when I was 18 would help to offer security for later on in life. From personal experiences and listening to other apprentice stories it quite often isn’t as simple as simply asking an employer to be entered into a pension scheme. It can take months to finally be entered into one as an employer is not always willing but with lowering the pension auto enrolment age this will help to combat this issue.

    In order to make this change happen I have recently launched a campaign. Please follow the link below and sign this petition also as many people that recognise that this needs to change the higher the chance that we can get noticed. Over the next few weeks I will be contacting several members of parliament – including (Guy Opperman – minister of pensions) to raise this issue. Any support is greatly appreciated and thank you for reading this blog.

Click this link to sign this petition!

For any further information that I have shared in this blog today please head over to the Insuring Women’s futures website and the wealth of information is incredible: Help to improve women’s financial resilience to secure a better future for all - CII - Insuring Women’s Futures


Oppenheim, M., 2021. Young women beginning apprenticeships more likely to be illegally underpaid, study finds. [online] The Independent. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 March 2021]. 2021. Automatic enrolment if you earn up to £10,000. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 March 2021].


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