Self-employed and pension saving

Auto enrolment has addressed participation and coverage issues for many traditionally employed workers. But for those outside traditional employment, now a growing demographic around the world, auto enrolment as we currently understand it may not be an option.

We’re developing a comprehensive programme of work looking to understand and address the low levels of saving seen among these groups by testing approaches to encouraging take-up and persistency.

Earlier this year we worked with partners i2 media research, Britain Thinks and the RSA to bring together existing evidence with new qualitative research to understand the needs and challenges these groups might have in relation to saving. More recently, i2 media research also explored the different types of self-employed journey and the potential touch points at which long-term saving might be encouraged.

We’re now developing a further programme of work in this area. This will add to existing evidence through possible quantitative and ethnographic studies, and will involve trialling practical solutions to drive take-up.

About the project

We think a potential intervention could include behavioural techniques that encourage self-employed workers to start pension saving, alongside approaches that can mimic the ‘set and forget’ nature of payroll deductions. Alternatively, other methods that position saving naturally within the everyday financial lives of this group could provide a solution.

We are also interested in understanding whether different savings products, such as those with greater liquidity or different incentive structures to a traditional pension, represent a more effective route to increasing savings rates in these groups.

If you’d like to partner with us to develop and deliver this research programme, or are working on concepts or research in this area, we’re keen to hear from you.

About our project partners

i2 media research limited is based at Goldsmiths University of London.
A small interdisciplinary team of experts in consumer insight, user experience research and strategy, i2 explores how humans and technology can work together for the benefit of consumers and business.

BritainThinks is an international insight and strategy consultancy. They put the people that matter most at the heart of organisations’ thinking, by providing them with the information they need to make better decisions.

Supported by 28,000 Fellows, the RSA is a global hub that shares ideas, conducts research, and builds networks and opportunities for people to come together to address the challenges facing today’s society.

Our research

Retirement saving and the self-employed (PDF)
Working for today, preparing for tomorrow: the realities of self-employment and saving (PDF)