PUBLIC AWARENESS OF ARMENIA'S PENSION REFORMS: A USAID-FUNDED BASELINE SURVEY TO CONTRIBUTE TO EFFICIENT PUBLIC AWARENESS STRATEGY
Yerevan, Armenia – On June 20, 2011, the USAID Pension and Labor Market Reform (PALM) Project, jointly with AM Partners Consulting Company, presented the results of a baseline survey on public awareness of pension reform in Armenia. Representatives of the Government of Armenia, international and non-governmental organizations attended the presentation, held in the Armenia Marriott Hotel.
Armenia’s existing pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pension system is financially unsustainable, lacking a solid link between contributions made to the system and the future pension income. This has served as a significant disincentive for citizens to join the system. To address this concern, the Government of Armenia has committed to reform the country’s pension system by introducing both voluntary and mandatory pension options in order to make the system financially sustainable and ensure an appropriate level of income at retirement. The reform process will require change in the mentality, attitude and behavior of common citizens and economic entities, which the Armenian government plans to address through a public awareness and education campaign.
To assist the Government of Armenia’s efforts, the USAID PALM project contracted AM Partners Consulting Company to design and conduct a nationwide survey among 992 citizens of Armenia aged 16 and above residing in both urban and rural areas. The survey will enable policymakers to organize a more effective and targeted public awareness campaign while enhancing the financial literacy of the society.
The survey covered key questions such as the people’s knowledge of and attitudes toward the current pension system and upcoming reforms, anxiety regarding pensions, and the respondent’s information sources. According to the survey, only 46% of respondents were familiar with the current pension system and just 27% of these knew the current system was PAYG. Only 0.9% of the respondents knew the size of social contributions made by employers and employees. 36% of respondents had heard about pension reforms, and 39% of respondents said they were ready to join the voluntary funded pension scheme. In terms of preferred sources of information, TV received the majority vote (a little over 90%), followed by newspapers and magazines (19-21%), and lastly, relatives and acquaintances (14-19% of respondents).