State Pension Survival Day

Friday 25 May marks moment when the average UK worker has already earned the equivalent of annual state pension

  • Friday 25 May is when the average UK full-time employee has earned the equivalent of a full year of State Pension payments 
  • The average UK full-time employee would have to make the £8,546.20 they have earned by 25 May last for the entire year if they rely solely on the State Pension in retirement
  • Findings come as almost one in five (17%) people think the State Pension will be their main source of income in retirement
  • Auto-enrolment is helping to bridge this gap, but not for self-employed workers, who don’t benefit from employer contributions

By Friday 25 May the average UK full-time employee has earned the equivalent of a full year of State Pension payments. The analysis from Aviva highlights the potential gap facing those with no other sources of income in retirement.

The current full State Pension gives retirees an income from the government of £8,546.20 per year.1 In contrast, an average salary of £513 per week2, or £26,676 per year3, gives the average UK full-time worker £21,419.36 per year to live on after tax – 2.5 times more than the State Pension.4

The comparison shows that after the first 101 working days of 2018, excluding Bank Holidays and weekends, the average UK full-time employee has already been paid the equivalent of a full year’s State Pension allowance.5

The analysis highlights the challenge indviduals would face in retirement, without other sources of income, to fund the remaining 220 days of the year until 31st December 2018. 

In an indication of the level of reliance on the government in the future, Aviva’s reseach has also found that nearly one in five (17%) working adults believe the State Pension will be their main source of retirement income. 6

Auto-enrolment bridging the gap – but not for the self-employed

For those employees saving into a workplace pension, auto-enrolment is helping to bridge some of the savings gap, with more than 9 million people having been introduced to pension saving since the government policy was rolled out in 2012. 

In April, the total minimum contribution rose to 5% of earnings - with the minimum contribution increasing to 2% for employers and 3% for employees. The total will rise again to 8% in April 2019 – with the minimum contribution increasing to 3% for employers and 5% for employees.

However the situation differs for those who are self-employed with currently no auto-enrolment equivalent in place. Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions suggest that only 1 in 7 self-employed workers saved into a pension in 20167 – increasing the risk of a lack of income outside of the State Pension in retirement.   

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva, comments:

“How many of us could survive until 31st December with the amount of money we have already earned this year – or live for a whole year on just £8,546? 

“The State Pension is a national treasure and the bedrock of many retirement plans. However, most of us will find that it isn’t enough to meet all our financial needs in retirement.

“Auto-enrolment has helped the UK take a step forwards to saving more via workplace pensions, but the threat of financial struggles in retirement hasn’t gone away, especially for the self-employed.

“Saving more into a pension means having to make the rest of the monthly pay cheque stretch further, but a far tougher challenge will come when you’re no longer earning and have a much bigger income drop to deal with.

“The State Pension can only replace the average worker’s income for 101 working days a year. Thanks to employer contributions and tax relief, more money goes into your workplace pension each month than comes out of your salary, so we urge people to think of the future and play the long game by putting saving first.” 




Ben Moss , Media Relations Manager                                                         +44 (0)117 928 5843                                                                                    +44 (0)7827 832 395

Sources and Methodology

1. State pension payments per week of £164.35. Multiplied by 52 weeks of the year equals £8,546.20 per year.


3. Average UK full-time employee weekly salary of £513, multiplied by 52 weeks of the year equals of £26,676.

4. After tax average UK full-time worker salary calculated using the Salary Calculator: All calculations have used 2017/18 tax allowances. Excludes special allowances for student loan repayments, pension contributions, over-time, childcare, salary sacrifice, bonuses etc.

5. 253 working days of 2018, excluding weekends and Bank Holidays ( £21,491.46 annual net divided by 253 days equals £84.66 daily net earnings. £8,546.20 divided by £84.66 equals 101 – the first working day of 2018 where the average UK full-time employee has earned as much as the state pension.

6. Aviva research, carried out by Censuswide who surveyed 2010 employed adults aged 22-65, February 2018. 


Notes to editors:

• Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.

• In the UK we are the leading insurer serving one in every four households and have strong businesses in selected markets in Europe, Asia and Canada. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE100 index.  

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• Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; we paid out £34.6 billion in benefits and claims in 2017.

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