Job Searches: Look at the Entire Package (Not Just the Salary!)

Job Searches: Look at the Entire Package (Not Just the Salary!)

The start of a new year often coincides with a spike in job searches. In fact, more than half of the UK population will look for a new job in 2018. It can be tempting to focus solely on the offered salary. However, a wider perspective which takes into account the entire package being offered is advisable. Other factors to be considered include:

Pension Contributions

It can be important to consider whether your employer is using a defined contribution (DC) pension or a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme. The average employer for a DC scheme puts in 3.2% of salary, but this number can range from the minimum 1% to 10%. The average employer for a DB scheme, conversely, puts on 16.9%. If you seek a greater reward for your work, rather than additional cash, this can be a way of getting more money from your employer by diverting a greater amount of your salary into your pension.

Life Cover

Almost all employers offer a payment of several times your salary if you die while performing contractual duties. The majority will also pay for income protection; this will provide you with a regular income if you are unable to work for a while.

Medical Insurance

One-fifth of employees have private medical insurance. To replace this benefit, it would cost an average of just under £1,500. The benefits outweigh the payment of tax on their cover.

Save as You Earn Schemes

After paying a monthly sum into such schemes for a period of three to five years, you will be given a bonus. You can then buy shares in your employer at a fixed price. If the share price has increased during the period you can buy the shares at a large discount. If share price has fallen, you simply get your savings back with the addition of the bonus.

If you are currently involved in such schemes and decide to move employers, you will only get your savings back and no longer have the option to buy shares. Occasionally a new employer will compensate you for the forgone share options.

Other Benefits on Offer

These include:

  • Tax-free childcare vouchers;
  • Tax-efficient computer or bike schemes;
  • Season ticket loans;
  • Cheaper insurance cover;
  • Discounted shopping vouchers;
  • Free parking.

In conclusion, it is important to compare ALL the benefits offered by an existing and potential employer before deciding to accept a new job. There may be the possibility to negotiate with your current employer over the benefits offered.

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Pension Plan Pay Warning



Just one in ten self-employed workers paid into a personal pension plan in 2013/14, according to an analysis by pension firm Prudential of the most recent data made available by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Office for National Statistics.


This is a sharp drop on the 2001/02 figure of 34 per cent.  In that year, 1.1m self-employed workers made pension payments and the total value of their contributions was £2.5b.  Twelve years on, only 420,000 self-employed workers were making pension payments, and the total value of contributions was only £1.6b.  This is despite the fact that the number of self-employed workers is at a record high of 4.6m, and leaves more than 4m workers without adequate arrangements for their retirement.


A 2014 survey, also by Prudential, indicated that the main reason for failing to contribute to a pension plan is affordability.  More than half (57 per cent) of self-employed workers either don‘t have enough money or put other financial priorities ahead of pensions, with 9 per cent preferring to plough any spare case back into the business.


With thanks to The Voice magazine, March/April 2016

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Will you have to work until you’re 75 or older to claim state pension?

Government review will examine whether pension age should continue to be linked to life expectancy.

State Pension

Speculation is rife that a new review of retirement age will lead to workers joining the workforce now not receiving their state pension until at least their mid-70s.

The study, which will report to the government next May, will be headed by John Cridland, the former CBI boss. It’s a scheduled assessment due to be carried out every five years to ensure the state pension remains affordable and keeps up with demographic changes.  However, it’s the terms of reference for the review that has got people in a lather.

The government said it would consider changes in life expectancy, as well as wider changes in society, and “make sure that the state pension is sustainable and affordable for future generations”. It will also consider whether “the current system of a universal state pension age” rising in line with life expectancy was “optimal in the long run”.

Both the BBC and the Daily Telegraph, informed by comments from Tom McPhail, head at pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said this “suggests the review will look at whether the retirement age should rise even if life expectancy slows”.   McPhail added: “We fully expect state pension ages to go up faster than currently planned and those joining the workforce today are likely to find themselves waiting until their mid-70s to get a payout from the state system.”

There is also the opportunity, however, for the scrapping of a universal state pension age to allow for more local and sector-specific ages to be set and counter criticism that many blue-collar workers in particular will simply be unable to continuing working into their 70s.

The Telegraph said the review “raises the possibility that manual workers in some areas might be allowed to claim their pension earlier than those who have spent their working lives in offices in other places”.

At the moment, the state pension age is 65 for men and 60 for women, with a single age of 66 coming in for both sexes from 2020. It will rise to 68 between 2026 and 2028 – and this review will look at what to do from then on, when the government had previously stated it would be set according to changes in average life expectancy.

A report published recently by pension provider Royal London suggests the average UK person joining the workforce now could have to work until they are 81 to have the same standard of living as enjoyed by the current retirement generation.

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Changes in Law: Pensions & Gender Pay

There are some big changes in employment law in 2016, and companies need to be prepared

Employment law is constantly evolving, as new rules and regulations come into force, and as such it’s imperative employers are informed and prepared. 2016 will see a number of important changes of which all employers should be aware



State pensions are set to be radically overhauled in April with the introduction of a new single-tier pension, which replaces the five separate elements of the current state provision.

But the government’s drive to simplify the system means employers will face increased national insurance costs because of the removal of the option to “contract out” of the additional state pension.

Recent research suggests the majority of UK employers have yet to consider the effect this will have on their own occupational pension schemes.

A survey by HR consultants Mercer found 70 per cent of employers with defined contribution (DC) schemes and 57% with defined benefit (DB) schemes have not decided how to deal with the increased costs.

It warned those with DB schemes could see payroll costs increase by up to 3 per cent, and those with DC schemes could find large numbers of their employees are unable to retire.

The message is clear – employers must decide how to deal with these changes as soon as possible or risk finding themselves in a sticky situation in the spring.

Gender Pay


Although the UK’s gender pay gap is narrowing, progress is slow, and the government wants to speed up the process.

So from 2016 large businesses – those with more than 250 employees – will have to publish a report on their gender pay gap.

The legislation for this is already in the 2010 Equality Act , but has yet to be enacted.

The government consulted on the proposal earlier this year but has not yet set out exactly what data companies will have to present, or how.

Nevertheless companies should start addressing the issue now, before the new rules are introduced, so they can lessen the risk of reputational damage.

After all, firms with an unequal pay system could face negative publicity, which will affect their ability to attract and retain employees.

This in turn risks significant financial damage resulting from potential employee claims for equal pay, possibly going back over six years to the 2010 act.

Employers would be wise to audit their pay practices now to make sure men and women in their organisation are fairly rewarded.

If a gender pay gap is identified, it would be a good idea to launch an action plan to address it.

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Tasting the Freedoms:  savers have spent the money or held it in cash

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has published its latest wave of research on patterns in retirement following the reforms.

Of those adults aged 55-70 surveyed, the majority, 63%, had started to look at how they would take their pension, and 23 per cent had done nothing.

Of those that accessed their pension, 18 percent spent it all and 19 per cent saved or invested their pension pot.  Of those who saved their pension, 23 per cent put it into a savings account and a further 20 per cent paid their pension into a cash ISA.

The Numbers:


Proportion of savers who have accessed their pension pot who have spent it all


Proportion of those who paid for advice on withdrawing money from their pension


Proportion of those who are weighing up how to access their pension who plan to go to their provider




Information taken from an article in Money Marketing Magazine 4th February 2016


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The Week in Numbers – 13th January 2016

The Week in Numbers

225 – Number of Investment Advisers Santander expects to employ by the end of Marchblue news

7% – Fall in China’s CSI 300 index on Monday, triggering newly-introduced “Circuit-Breakers” that halted trading for the day

21% – Rise in mortgage approvals year-on-year in November, according to Bank of England Figures

13k – Number of new affordable homes the Government plans to build this year through directly commissioning “small and up-and-coming” building companies

£50k – Amount raised by two landlords seeking to fight Government plans to raise taxes on buy-to-let investments

105,153 – Signatures backing a campaign to ease the transition for women affected by increases in the women’s state pension age (figure correct at time of original writing)

£615m – Amount by which Government has undershot its tax avoidance revenue raising target, according to the Office for Budge Responsibility.

£4m – MAS marketing budget for 2016/17

£30.1m – Budget for “money guidance” in 2016/17, down from £34.1m in 2015/16


“I would be worried if we went back to the bad old days” – Independent pensions expert Alan Higham on the prospect of a return of commission-like charging structures.


Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 7th January 2016

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The Week in Numbers – 3rd November

The Week in Numbers – 3rd November 2015blue news

44% – Year-on-year rise in pension investment inflows reported by St James’s Place in the third quarter , from £430m to £620m

0.5% – Growth in UK GDP in the third quarter, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics

£15.4m – Redress that payday lender Dollar Financial UK will pay to over 147,000 customers after reaching an agreement with the FCA

£204k – salary of MAS corporate services director Lesley Robinson in 2014/15. Robinson is leaving the organisation to join MDL Marinas

£150m – Year-on-year rise in investment-linked bond sales recorded by LV= in the first nine months of 2015, from £98m to £248m

70% – Proportion of 500 adviser websites surveyed by Which? that do not publish their charges online

£474.6bn – Amount wiped off the assets of some of the UK’s largest fund managers in the wake of the China crisis in the third quarter

£452.6m – Total amount lent through equity release products during Q3, £68.3m more than the previous quarter – the biggest quarterly rise in 11 years.


Quote of the week: “They need to put the fire out first before repainting the hallway” – Cazalet Consulting chief executive Ned Cazalet on the need for platforms to address immediate regulatory challenges before tech upgrades.


Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 29th October 2015

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The Week in Numbers – 23rd Sept 2015

51% – Proportion of people who do not know if their provider levies charges for admin chartmanaging their pension pot.

0% – CPI inflation in August, down from 0.1% in July according to the Office for National Statistics

80% – Proportion of investment houses that publish out-of-date fund data, research by fintech company Instinct Studios shows

5.2% – House price growth in the year to July 2015, down from 5.7% in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS

59.5% – Proportion of Labour members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party

23,000 – Jobs to be cut by Deutsche Bank, a quarter of its workforce, reports say

£2.4bn – size of the longevity swap deal agreed between Friends Life and Heineken this week

2 – Number of ABI members which have left the trade body in the past 13 months, with Aegon following in L&Gs footsteps this week


Originally published in Money Marketing Magazine 17th Sept 2015
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The Week in Numbers – 30th July

The Week in Numbers – 30th July

186 – Visits made to Barclays by the FCA during 2014, according to a Freedom of Information request – the most of any British bankblue news

145% – Jump in compensation paid relating to investment advisers in 2014/15, totalling £183m, according to the FSCS annual report

£20bn – Savings Chancellor George Osborne is demanding of Government departments over the life of the new parliament

2020 – Date to which the long term care cap has been pushed back. It was meant to be in place by April 2016

6 Months – Length of outgoing FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley’s gardening leave

2 – Number of auto-enrolment providers on The Pensions Regulator’s list of schemes that will accept any employer and meet governance standards

£8,100 – The drawdown charges someone with a £50,000 pot will pay over a decade with The Share Centre according to Which?

104,950 – Number of residential property transactions in June, marking a 16-month high


Figures originally published in Money Marketing Magazine, 23rd July 2015
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The Week in Numbers

The Week in NumbersWebsite Photos 062

£15bn – Potential annual cost of maintaining the state pension triple-lock, according to the institute for fiscal studies

47% Size for the stake in Tenet owned by the enlarged Aviva/Friends Life Group. Money Marketing reveals this week that Aviva is considering selling its stake in the network.

37% Drop in annuity sales seen by Just Retirement in Q1

56 number of seats won by the SNP in Scotland, out of a possible 59.

326 – number of seats needed for a majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives stunned the pollsters last week by securing 331 seats

£1.4bn – level of premiums written for unit-linked guarantees at their peak in 2012. Industry experts have branded the products ‘almost criminal’ and argue changes are opaque.

3 – number of party leaders who quit in the wake of election results. UKIP leader was reinstated as leader after the part refused to accept his resignation

£1.2bn – Size of the legacy annuity book to be transferred from Zurich UK Life to specialist insurer Rothesay Life for an undisclosed sum.


Originally published in Money Marketing magazine 14th May 2015
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