Just one in three under-25s has some form of pension coverage

Of employees with no supplementary pension cover, over four in ten cited affordability as the main reason

Just one in three workers aged 20-24 years have some form of pension coverage, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The data, which was compiled in the third quarter of last year, shows pension coverage remains greatest among workers aged 45 to 54 years (77 per cent), which was unchanged from 2022.

It remained lowest among young workers with 33 per cent of workers aged 20-24 years having some form of pension coverage, although this was up two percentage points on the same period in 2022.

For employees with occupational pensions from their current employment, the number with defined benefit pensions decreased in 2023 (30 per cent compared with 32 per cent in 2022).

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The number with defined contribution pensions increased to 66 per cent from 62 per cent in 2022.

For those workers with no occupational pension coverage from their current employment, half of workers stated that their employer does not offer a pension scheme.

Of employees with no supplementary pension cover, over four in ten (43 per cent) cited affordability as the main reason, which was an increase of three percentage points on the same period in 2022.

Just over a third of workers (34 per cent) said that they never got around to organising it/would set it up at a future date, while 9 per cent that they would set it up at a future date.

One in sixteen (6 per cent) said that other sources offered a better return for investment, while the availability of a spouse’s pension was cited by 2 per cent of respondents as the main reason for not having pension cover.

The State pension was cited as the expected main source of income on retirement for almost six in ten (59 per cent) workers with no pension coverage (up two percentage points on 2022).

Of respondents who are eligible for the auto enrolment scheme, one in five (20 per cent) were aware of it, and of these, over seven in ten (72 per cent) said they would stay in the scheme if automatically enrolled in it, up seven percentage points on the same period in 2022.

Analysis of pension coverage by broad occupational groups shows that workers whose occupation was classified as professionals had the highest pension coverage rate at 83 per cent.

Just 48 per cent of workers whose broad occupational group was “skilled trades” had pension coverage. The lowest coverage was in the accommodation and food service activities sector (32 per cent).

A quarter of managers, directors and senior officials with pension cover had both occupational and personal pension schemes, compared with only less than one in eight (13 per cent) of workers with pension coverage in the process, plant and machine operatives and caring, leisure and other services broad occupational groups.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter