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Retirement saving of the self-employed

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The number of self-employed workers has grown rapidly over the past two decades, and they account for a steadily growing proportion of the workforce. However, the proportion of the self-employed saving in a private pension has declined dramatically, leading to continued concerns about their financial preparations for retirement. Automatic enrolment, which has dramatically increased pension saving by employees, does not apply to the self-employed – leaving policy makers pondering other options to encourage pension saving among this group.

At this event we will present the findings of new IFS research that has examined the decline in private pension saving among the self-employed. We will shed light on the extent to which it is driven by the changing characteristics of the self-employed workforce, and highlight the trend among different groups of the self-employed. We will also discuss attitudes towards saving, and trends in other asset holdings which may represent an alternative means of saving for retirement.

We will then hear from our panel, who will give their perspectives on the findings and implications of this research and the continuing important issue of the retirement saving of the self-employed.


  • Rowena Crawford, Associate Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement, Aviva
  • Pete Searle, Director - Private Pensions and Arms Length Bodies, Department for Work and Pensions