Women would need to work eight years longer to retire with the same pension as men

pension pot

by HRHQ Editorial Team

New research shows women in Ireland would need to work eight years longer to retire with the same pension pot as men.

The Irish Life 2024 Gender Pension Gap Report found a 36% gender pension gap and highlights the pension inequality faced by working women in Ireland.

There are two key reasons for the gender pensions gap. The first is that, on average, women are paid 22% less than men. That means their pension contributions tend to be lower and so their pension pot tends to be smaller. The second key reason is that women are more likely to take time out of the workforce – an average of six years over their career lifetime, and we know that caring responsibilities tend to fall disproportionately on women for example.

The data shows that the average age to start a pension is the same for both men and women and that men and women contribute comparable percentages of salary confirming that saving habits play no role in the gender pension gap. So in those periods, they are not making pension contributions and therefore their pension pot is smaller.

In terms of individual actions, the study found that those who make single and/or regular additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) are likely to get pension pots 150 per cent larger than those who do not. In this regard, men were found to be 60 per cent more likely to make single premium AVCs, and 12 per cent more likely to make regular AVCs.

Irish Life’s director of employer solutions Shane O’Farrell said “The answer simply cannot be women continuing to work for eight more years while the men in their workplace retire,”

“When it comes to levelling the playing field and remedying the Gender Pension Gap, we all have a part to play. Improvements can be achieved by implementing the right reforms to gender-proof pension policy,” he said.

“Employers can also play a key part by reviewing their own workplace benefits and designing initiatives with their pension provider, to economically empower the women in their workforce.

The research analysed data from over 130,000 Irish Life defined contribution plan members.