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Summary: Pension Trends Chapter 7, 2013 Edition

Released: 16 July 2013 Download PDF

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Employee membership of a workplace pension: by pension type, 1997 to 2012

United Kingdom, percentages

Employee membership of a workplace pension: by pension type, 1997 to 2012
Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) - Office for National Statistics


  1. Pension is arranged through an employer, main pension only.
  2. Results for 2005 are based on a new questionnaire and may not be comparable with earlier results.
  3. In 2011 ASHE replaced the Standard Occupational Classification 2000 (SOC 2000) with the Standard Occupational Classification 2010 (SOC 2010). The change to SOC 2010 has affected the survey weighting. Rounded to the nearest percentage, the proportions in this figure are the same whether the estimates are calculated on the old or new SOC basis.

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The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) estimates that, in 2012, 46% of UK employees were active members of a workplace pension, the lowest level since records began in 1997. Active membership of defined benefit pension schemes fell from 46% of employees in 1997 to 28% in 2012.

Self-employed men: by whether belong to a personal pension, 1991/92 to 2011

Great Britain, percentages

Self-employed men: by whether belong to a personal pension, 1991/92 to 2011
Source: General Lifestyle Survey - Office for National Statistics


  1. Full-time workers only; aged 16 and over.
  2. No surveys were carried out in the years 1997/98 and 1999/2000.
  3. Data from 1991/92 to 1996/97 are unweighted. From 1998/99 the data is weighted to compensate for non-response and to match known population distributions. For 1998/99 unweighted and weighted data are shown for comparison.
  4. 2005 data includes last quarter of 2004/05 data as the survey changed from financial year to calendar year. Results for 2006 onwards include longitudinal data.

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In 2011, according to the General Lifestyle Survey, 46% of self-employed men had never belonged to a personal pension, the highest percentage since the series began in 1991/92. The percentage of self-employed men that belonged to a personal pension in 2011 was 34%, the lowest percentage since 1991/92.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Further information

Pension Trends – Chapter 7: Private Pension Scheme Membership, 2013 Edition - This chapter discusses membership of all types of non-state pension, referred to here as private pensions. These comprise occupational schemes for private sector and public sector employees; and personal pensions, including group personal pensions and stakeholder pensions.
Pension Trends - Pension Trends: Glossary (Pdf 199Kb) - No. 1, 2005 edition

Related Internet links

Pension Trends - consists of 14 chapters bringing together official statistics on pensions and retirement.

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