Site map

A pensions overview

It’s a simple way for you to save for your future

Let's start with the basics

A pension is a simple way for you to save for your future, to support the retirement you’d like. Depending on your financial circumstances, it could also help towards things like paying off your mortgage at retirement or travelling.

There are three types of pensions


  • A workplace pension
    Set up by your employer


  • A State Pension
    Provided by the Government


  • A private pension
    Set up by you rather than your employer

USS is a workplace pension. It’s a great way to support what you might get from the State Pension, as it likely won’t be enough on its own, so it’s really important to consider having another source of income.

There are two types of workplace pension:

  • A defined benefit pension, which guarantees you an income for life once you retire. We call this the Retirement Income Builder.

  • A defined contribution pension, where contributions are invested into your own savings pot. This is our Investment Builder.

Find out how they work together.

Four benefits of saving into your USS pension

  • It's a tax-efficient way of saving

    When you build a pension, your contributions are taken from your pay before tax. This means you only pay tax on the salary you take home, which doesn’t include your pension contributions. So you’re getting tax relief on what you pay in.

    Watch our short video for an Overview of Pension Tax.

  • It's a flexible way to save

    You’ll get a guaranteed income with the Retirement Income Builder and a flexible savings pot with the Investment Builder (if you earn above the salary threshold, choose to pay additional contributions or transfer other pension savings in). It’s your opportunity to increase your income from the state pension.

    Visit how your pension works for more on the two parts of USS.

  • Your employer contributes too

    On top of your monthly contribution of 6.1% of your salary, your employer pays in 14.5% each month. Their contributions help to fund the benefits you’ll get at retirement.

    And if you earn over the salary threshold, you and your employer will save into the Investment Builder too.

  • Choose how and where to invest

    With the Investment Builder, you can either let our team of investment experts make the investment decisions for you, or you can take control and make your own investment choices.

    This means you can tailor how your savings pot is invested based on your risk tolerance, or maybe even your ethical or religious beliefs.

  • What you pay and what you'll get

    Visit our dedicated page to see what goes into building your pension, what you could get at retirement and the other benefits you'll receive.

How to join 

As long as you’re in a USS-eligible role, you’ll be auto enrolled into USS. If you’re looking to re-join after you’ve decided to leave, speak to your employer to get things moving.

If you’re working overseas, or you’ve come to the UK for a new role, you can still save for your future. Visit our working or retiring overseas page to find out more.

Got a question?