Travel and leisure workers lose out in DC pension stakes

Financial services employers are the most generous when it comes to contributing to their worker’s defined contribution pension pot, a study has shown.

Of 650 companies polled about their defined contribution pension schemes, the financial services sector fared the best with a combined pension pot of 11% – to which employers contributed 8.4%.

Average employer contributions across the UK currently stand at 6.2%, according to Aon Consulting which carried out the research.

Employers in the voluntary/charity and pharmaceuticals/healthcare sectors were also found to be more generous, the 2009 Aon Benefits and Trends Survey found.

Those working in leisure and travel were the worst off with a combined pension pot of 7% – where only 4.1% was invested by the employer.

Workers in the media, retail, professional services, telecommunications and the technology and oil/gas/metal sectors also received below average employer contributions, Aon said.

Helen Dowsey, principal at Aon Consulting said there was a wide disparity between employer and employee contributions across all UK sectors, probably because employers benchmark their DC schemes against their competitors.

She said: “Employers may also reward their employees in different ways with the pension forming a small part of the overall benefits package.

“Using the average 9.7% total contribution as a benchmark, employees who receive only a small contribution from their employer should counter this and give a little more.

“Many DC schemes offer a matching structure where the more the employee pays, the more the employer will contribute. It’s therefore also possible that employees, by limiting their own contributions, are missing out on additional pension contributions from their employer.”

Last week, Personnel Today reported how HR departments will have a key role to play if pension auto-enrolment – due to come into force in 2012 – is to succeed.

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