Gender, Lifecourse and Pension Saving

Online - hosted via Zoom
Monday 21 November 2022 (13:00-14:00)

Helen Harris:


With changes to welfare state provision, saving for a pension throughout one’s working life is essential to provide income during later life. Hayley James, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing, Aston Business School is the guest speaker.

With changes to welfare state provision, saving for a pension throughout one’s working life is essential to provide an income during later life. Automatic enrolment has increased participation in pension saving, but many people are still saving at minimum rates that are unlikely to deliver adequate incomes in later life. This is especially a concern for women, who earn (and therefore save) less but also live longer, exposing them to a great risk of poverty in later life.

However, our understanding of pension saving as consumption smoothing is dominated by a one-size-fits-all perspective of lifecycle saving, where accumulation peaks in midlife. In this paper, I examine how pension saving is instead shaped by experiences of the gendered lifecourse, with different norms, narratives and sanctions operating in relation to pension saving at different points in their lives. Through research on pension saving decisions amongst men and women aged 25-45 years old working for three large employers in the UK, I identify three gendered lifecourse effects on pension saving which modify the savings lifecycle with implications for workplace pension policy.


Hayley James is Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing at Aston Business School. Hayley’s research interests concern sociological perspectives on money, finance and value, and how they intersect with ageing and the lifecourse. Her Thesis, completed at the University of Manchester, examined the impact of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions in the UK on individual decision making using a qualitative research methodology (entitled Connecting Policy with the Personal: UK pension reforms and individual financial decision making). She has also worked on the NORFACE-funded DEEPEN project, which examines the democratic governance of pensions in 6 European countries.

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