Retirement Provision among the Black and Minority Ethnic Group in the UK

Preddie, B. 2014. Retirement Provision among the Black and Minority Ethnic Group in the UK. PhD thesis University of Westminster Westminster Business School

TitleRetirement Provision among the Black and Minority Ethnic Group in the UK
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsPreddie, B.

Retirement provision is an important aspect of financial decision making that can influence the financial quality of life experienced by individuals in old age, regardless of their ethnic group. However, individuals belonging to the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) group are more financially vulnerable in retirement than other groups, such as the White British. Previous research indicates that labour market disadvantages, low socio-economic status, and the inadequate access to financial resources are contributing factors that limit their ability to save effectively for retirement. This thesis investigates these issues further by examining the economic position of the BME group and the socio-cultural factors that positively influence or inhibit their retirement provision. This investigation is essential as many of the first generation of BME migrants, some of whom have provided migrant labour to the British economy since the Second World War, are entering the retirement stage, and are at a risk of financial difficulty due to low pension income. Although there are variations in the migration pattern and age structure of the BME group, individuals within this group are less likely to have occupational and private pension coverage. The term ‘BME group’ is used throughout this thesis to refer to individuals from African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, since they represent the largest numbers of BME individuals in the UK.

With increased individual responsibility for pension provision, this thesis explores the retirement phenomena of the BME group in three interrelated empirical chapters. The first empirical chapter uses secondary data to examine the labour market characteristics and income of the BME group at the aggregate level. With the access to retirement resources being significantly dependent on income and labour market position, these characteristics of the BME group are explored in relation to those of the White British group. The findings in this chapter substantiates much of the existing debate regarding the homogeneity of BME individuals based on their low level of income, under-representation in full-time employment and low levels of occupation. As a result, the ability of some BME individuals to save in the new workplace pension scheme may be compromised. The second empirical chapter uses secondary data to investigate further the socio-economic characteristics of the BME group at the dis-aggregated level. With limited research highlighting the relative importance of heterogeneity among BME sub-samples, the findings in the second chapter raises important implications in terms of the ability of some BME sub-samples to make provisions for their retirement given the significant levels of heterogeneity that exists in the socio-economic characteristics of the BME group. This indicates that stratified approaches to retirement provision may exist due to the possession of different levels of economic, social and cultural capital. The third empirical chapter utilises primary data to explore the retirement strategies of the five BME sub-samples at the dis-aggregated level. It provides an alternative perspective on the issues faced by the BME group and aids in further explanation of the findings in the two previous empirical chapters. The findings in the third chapter present new evidence in the form of various interrelated factors that inhibit the ability of BME individuals to make provisions for retirement.

The findings presented throughout the thesis have generated a better understanding of the ways in which social structures and various forms of social, economic and cultural capital contribute to social stratification within the BME group, thus influencing their disposition towards certain retirement provision. The findings indicate that while some BME individuals have adequate retirement provisions, there are others who face financial difficulty in old age. By highlighting the socially constructed nature of ‘retirement provision’ and the economic, social and cultural factors inhibiting effective retirement provisions, from the perspective of the BME people, this thesis contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the characteristics and circumstances of BME individuals in the UK. Based on the findings presented, policy implementations may be developed to promote social inclusion, social equity and better retirement saving among this group.


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