Pension is an important factor when people are looking for a new job. However, people often don’t know how the pension scheme offered looks like exactly, as evidenced by the National Survey on Employment Conditions. Joyce Augustus-Vonken was involved in the survey from APG: “Employers have to make their employees more pension-aware.”
We work for our pension at least one day per week, but, oddly enough, we are barely aware of that fact. Yet, we believe a good income for later is important: we are hesitant to pick an employer not offering a pension scheme as shown by the National Survey on Employment Conditions. APG conducted the research together with Intermediair, a work-life platform for those with a higher education, among about 7000 people; employed people and jobseekers. Joyce Augustus-Vonken, researcher at APG, spent a lot of time on the survey these past months, together with colleague Eduard Ponds. A big job that provided plenty of insights on how important pension is considered by the Dutch in the total package of employment conditions and what they know about the topic.
Why did APG conduct this survey together with Intermediair?
“At APG, we are eager to know how people think about their income for now, later on and in the future: what do they perceive as important, what are the choices they make? That knowledge enables us to respond more effectively. This survey specifically involved Dutch people who are working and who are looking for a job. Pension is an important employment condition. Employers pay an average of two-third of the premium for their employees, some pension funds even pay the total amount, but in some cases employers pay less than half. We were curious to know if people actually pay attention to the above details when looking for a new job or in their current job. Are they aware of the value of this employment condition and of the differences between pension funds?
“The salary continues to be the most important employment condition which is only logical. But pension also appears to be an important factor when making the choice for a new job. No less than 92 percent of the employees and jobseekers expects their employer to arrange the pension accrual. Conversely, the lack of a pension scheme contributes largely to the decision on whether or not to opt for such employer. The same applies to no perspective of a permanent contract for that matter. Not offering these employment conditions therefore truly is a no-go for employers.”
Should the employers offering a good pension scheme emphasize this more on the labor market?
“Employers can highlight their pension scheme more in job ads and during the application process, but also to their existing employees. Conversely, employees could also raise the topic of pension more actively in job interviews and conversations on employment conditions. And not only ask the question whether or not a pension scheme is available, but also the height of the pension and how much premium he/she and the employer are actually paying on it. Because that is also showing from the survey: people find it important to actually accrue pension, but the height thereof seems to be of lesser interest. Most people are quite happy with a pension that pays 50 percent of their current gross monthly salary in the future. Higher pensions contribute to the attractiveness of the package of employment conditions, but the higher the pension, the less added value people relatively allot to it. That mainly applies to an increase of the pension from 70 to 90 percent of the gross monthly salary: in that case, people often perceive adjustments in other employment conditions as more important. Even though that could make a considerable difference in the pay-out later on.”
The survey also shows poor knowledge on pension. Is that related to the above?
“Nearly sixty percent of the respondents does not know what part of the premium is paid by the employer. Also remarkable: almost half of the interviewees don’t know whether they will receive a fixed or variable pension payment. People perhaps think too often: I am accruing pension and this means everything is well arranged. They rarely wonder whether they will have enough income later on, or that’s it is time for them to arrange something extra. Women appear to be less knowledgeable on the situation of their pension compared to men.”