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1998 Survey on employers'
pension provision

28th September 2000 - The Department of Social Security (DSS) published results of the third survey of pension provision by private sector companies in Great Britain. The survey involved nearly 2,000 private sector organizations who were interviewed by telephone between January and June 1998. This survey provides an update of research previously conducted in 1994 and 1996.

The survey investigated:

* types of pensions provided by employers

* extent of employees covered by pension provisions

* contributions and benefits involved

* trustee arrangements for pension schemes

* financial status of and minimum funding requirements for pension schemes

* valuation of employes' pension rights

* awareness of Stakeholder Pensions.

Results were divided into two categories: small organizations (defined as having less than 20 employees); and larger organizations (with 20 or more employees).

The authors of the report - Jon Hales and Nina Stratford of the National Centre for Social Research - among their findings revealed that:

* Size and employment profiles of private sector companies had changed little since the last survey in 1996. Most employers (93%) had fewer than 20 employees but most workers (67%) were employed in larger organizations with 20 or more employees.

* 34% of companies made some form of pension provision in 1998 (compared with 38% in 1996). But the researchers warned that this comparison should be treated with caution due to possible sample bias.

* In both 1996 and 1998, the most common form of provision was through employer contributions to personal pensions. 38% of larger organizations had two or more types of pension provision in 1998 but multiple provision did not feature prominently among smaller organizations.

* There was a striking difference between the percentage of employees making some kind of pension provision between large and small organizations. Whereas 90% (89% in 1996) of employees in larger firms did so, just 38% of small organization workers made provision - a drop from 42% in 1996.

Employers' Pension Provision 1998, published 28 September 2000 in the Department of Social Security's Research Series (Report No. 123, ISBN 1 84123 269 6).

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