By Daniel Hunter

Research by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) has identified high awareness levels of automatic enrolment among employers.

Of the 1,000 employers surveyed, 88 per cent have confirmed they’re fully aware of automatic enrolment. Reassuringly, 38 per cent have already assessed the impact of automatic enrolment on their finances and a further 25 per cent intend to do so in the next 12 months.

NEST’s own research complements that of CIPD, identifying that 96 per cent of organisations with over 50 workers are aware of automatic enrolment. While this data is encouraging, NEST highlights the need for businesses to convert awareness into preparedness.

"Our experience has shown that it can take 18 months for employers to get to grips with preparations for automatic enrolment. That’s why we’re calling on employers to start thinking about how they’ll meet their duties as soon as possible," Graham Vidler, director of communications and engagement at NEST, said.

"For some, it may take longer, for others, it may be less, but we shouldn’t underestimate the scale of the challenge facing employers and the broader pensions industry. Between now and 2018, 11 million people, working for 1.2 million employers, will benefit from automatic enrolment.

"At some stages, for example in the summer of 2014, which is just over 18 months away, there’ll be literally tens of thousands of employers reaching their staging dates within a very short space of time."

NEST is currently working with more than 300 employers of all sizes and more than 100 large employers have already chosen NEST to meet their automatic enrolment duties including McDonald’s, Travelodge, BT and the BBC.

Key facts about NEST:

· From this year, the Government is introducing reforms that mean employers will have to enrol most of their workers into a workplace pension scheme that meets or exceeds certain standards. They’ll also need to make a minimum contribution for many of these workers.

· NEST is a national defined contribution workplace pension scheme available to all employers to use to meet their new duties. It’s designed around the needs of people who are largely new to pension saving, with clear communications, low charges and easy online tools and services. It’s run as a trust-based scheme, on a not-for-profit basis, and the Trustee has a legal duty to act in its members’ interests.

· NEST has a public service obligation to accept any employer, whatever their size, who wants to use the scheme to meet their duties, as a sole scheme or alongside other provision.

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