If you’ve been keeping up with my pensions auto-enrolment posts over the last few weeks you will now officially be able to call yourself an expert on the subject*.  In honour of this, I’ve put together a short quiz based on some interesting auto-enrolment facts and figures you might not be aware of. The answers are below…no cheating!

(*Actual levels of expertise may vary)

  1. Auto-enrolment obligations began to apply to the largest employers (those with 120,000 workers or more) in October 2012 and will apply to gradually smaller employers until February 2018,when all will be covered.  What percentage of private employers in the UK have less than 50 employees?
  2. Employees can opt-out of being automatically enrolled into a pension scheme.  What percentage of employees have actually made the decision to opt out so far?
  3. The minimum level of auto-enrolment contributions is being gradually increased until October 2018.  What is the minimum contribution level (as a percentage of an employee’s ‘qualifying earnings’) which will apply to defined contribution schemes from October 2018?

[Note that ‘qualifying earnings’ includes salary, wages, commission, bonuses, overtime, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay. The minimum contribution level is made up of employee and employer contributions and tax relief.]

  1. The current average (median) weekly private occupational pension income is £81 per week.  What has the Government predicted this will increase to by 2070 as a result of auto- enrolment?
  2. And finally, which is the odd one out? Theo Paphitis (of Dragon’s Den), Karren Brady (of the Apprentice), Nick Hewer (also of The Apprentice) and Lord Alan Sugar (of, er, The Apprentice).


  1. 99.2% (from the Office for National Statistics “Business Population Estimates For the UK and Regions 2012”. It’s an interesting read – particularly if (like me) you think that everything is better as a bar chart.)
  2. 9% (as at August 2013 based on the Government’s survey: “Automatic enrolment opt out rates: findings from research with large employers“)
  3. 8%, with a minimum employer contribution of 3% (Note that different levels apply if a scheme ‘self-certifies’ that it meets the minimum requirements).
  4. Between £153 and £195 per week (the research paper also predicts that without the reforms the median pension income would only be between £86 and £106 per week by 2070 i.e. a whopping drop in value in real terms).
  5. Alan Sugar (all of the others have appeared in the Government’s “I’m In” campaign advertising auto-enrolment).

Unless you scored 5 out of 5 (in which case you are probably Pensions Minister Steve Webb, or the person who writes his speeches), then some of these figures may be quite surprising.  They go to show that although the auto-enrolment process began almost a year ago, there is still a considerable distance to travel in the auto-enrolment journey.   If you need help, a guiding hand or just some reassurance that you have taken all the right auto-enrolment steps already, please contact me through the link at the top of this post.