Millions of retail, hospitality and travel workers ‘may never retire’, warns pension firm

Linda J. Dodson

Millions of workers in sectors most affected by the lockdown may never be able to retire and could face a lifetime of playing catch up with their savings, one of Britain’s largest pension companies has said. 

Business activity in travel and tourism, construction, hospitality, retail and the arts came to a complete standstill during the height of the outbreak of the pandemic. 

Retail and aviation companies were among the hardest hit and have been forced to cut 11,000 jobs in two days, while restaurant and accommodation businesses have shrank by an estimated 85pc. Nearly half of all employees in these businesses have been furloughed. 

Mass rounds of redundancies and pay cuts mean that workers in these industries are highly likely to face new financial pressures that make saving for the long-term even more difficult.

Before the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, many of these workers were already struggling to save for retirement, according to pension provider Scottish Widows’ annual retirement report. 

Research found that more than a quarter of those who work in travel and the arts have not yet started saving into a pension. Two-thirds of retail workers said they are worried that if they ever did retire, they would quickly run out of money and only 18pc of restaurant workers are optimistic about retirement. 

Meanwhile, three in five construction works feel they are not preparing adequately for retirement. 

Pete Glancy, of at Scottish Widows, said: “We recognise that the next 12 to 18 months is going to be about businesses getting back on their feet, but many individuals have taken a substantial hit to their finances and the fear is that the gap can’t be closed, meaning they face a lifetime of work as they struggle to afford to retire.”

Mr Glancy said that a record three out of five people are now saving adequately for retirement but long-term prospects are still to a large degree defined by the industry in which people work.

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