Let’s explore the diverse career paths within the pensions industry, especially for those starting their journey, as featured in an article written by Niamh McCarthy-Jones for Pensions Careers - one of the UK's leading pensions job boards

Whether you’re fresh out of education or transitioning from another field, there’s a place for you in this dynamic sector.


Sammons Pensions Recruitment tracks remuneration trends nationwide across in-house, third party, consultancy, and niche specialists, publishing a Salary Survey every year since 2002.

Following the recent pandemic, ongoing economic turmoil, and cost of living crisis the Pensions industry continues to be extremely busy, supporting organisations to be able to meet increasingly demanding and complex requirements for their Pension arrangements.

Employers have been faced with the Great Resignation challenge, with employees leaving their jobs at the highest rate since 2009, with businesses needing to work with their recruiters on innovative and effective strategies to promote compelling, attractive, and relevant employment opportunities. We speak daily with companies actively hiring, with well-practised virtual interviewing and onboarding processes and increased flexible working patterns now widely available from fully remote to hybrid. In a continuing candidate-driven market career opportunity, benefits packages, flexibility, and a nimble recruitment process are essential to attract and retain talented individuals.

As an industry, Pensions attracts individuals who will have a structured career path across their working life, and equally individuals who may take a more varied path including those who move into this field mid or later career.

Here are just a few of the career paths this industry offers at the entry/junior level:

There are a number of career paths open to you, depending in part of the structure of the training and development scheme you undertake, for example if you are qualifying as a lawyer, an actuary or an accountant (to name but a few) and also the areas of the industry that are of interest to you, for example working in consultancy or for an in-house Pensions department, or if you are interested in specialising in certain areas such as administration, project management, IT, communications, investments or accounts (just a few examples of the numerous areas this industry offers opportunities in).

For entry level candidates, the most typical route into Pensions would be Trainee Pensions Administrator positions. Salaries for this level vary, but there is no doubt that with the right support and driven attitude, and commitment to attaining professional qualifications, with salary increases often following each exam passed, there is no limit to how quickly this can increase. These salaries do align very similarly from In-house to Consultancy/Third Party, with little difference at this level.

Congratulations, you have been rewarded for your hard work and now have been promoted! Salaries across Pensions/Senior Pensions Administrators have seen the largest overhaul in the last couple of years, partly inflation driven, but also by employers recognising the lack of available talent in the market at this level, both in-house and in third-party/consultancy.

Longer-term career paths could include management through to Operations Director or moving into more specialist roles such as project management, client relationship management, consulting, or in-house scheme management to name but a few.


Top trends for recruitment: Many households continue to feel the effects of price rises, those not benefitting from competitive pay rises or bonuses over the past several years will be more incentivised to seek better pay elsewhere or take on a second job. Many companies continue to work hard to support working patterns to meet needs of both the business and its employees, a bonus being the opportunity to reap the benefits of encouraging Diversity & Inclusivity initiatives. However specific employers have been highlighted for requiring four days office-based, or even full-time office-based.

2023 was another busy year for the Pensions industry including company acquisitions and mergers, legislative developments, Brexit and economic challenges for pension schemes’ funding and investment strategies including ESG. Pension regulations and changes continue to mount up including the General Code of Practice in 2024. Employer trust pension schemes moving to master trusts at highest rates ever seen, partially driven by legislation affecting pension schemes with assets under £100m with trustees seeing the economies of scale that master trusts can provide. Auto enrolment developments with the drop in entry age and removal of lower thresholds, which will increase pension budgets.

This is an industry that never stops evolving to meet these demands, attracting, and retaining talented, innovative, and passionate individuals, by offering long-term and rewarding careers where you can feel that you have made a difference.

About the Author

Niamh McCarthy-Jones

Niamh McCarthy-Jones

Senior Recruitment Consultant

Sammons Pensions Recruitment Ltd

Sammons Pensions is an industry-leading, award-winning Recruitment Consultancy specialising in recruiting to Pensions market. We comprise of specialist qualified Recruitment Consultants, with over 65 years’ combined market experience, including direct industry exposure. Committed to a set of core values of honesty, integrity, and professionalism, we work as a team to deliver a service we are all fiercely proud of and which is unparalleled in our market.

We recruit on a contingency and executive-search basis, successfully placing high calibre pensions professionals, permanent, temporary, and interim, at all levels junior to director. Established for over 29 years we draw on an exceptional network and market knowledge.


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