Nearly two-thirds of workers have pension cover, CSO figures show

Survey finds pension cover increases with age

Pension coverage was greatest among workers aged 45-54 years.

Pension coverage was greatest among workers aged 45-54 years.


Nearly two-thirds of workers in the Republic have some form of supplementary pension cover, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The agency found that 64.7 per cent of those in employment aged between 20 and 69 years of age had pension coverage, over and above the State scheme, in the third quarter of last year. This was a 5 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.

However, the CSO cautioned that its survey only covered people in employment, so many who have been laid off as a result of the pandemic were not included.

The survey found pension coverage increased with age. Fewer than half of workers aged 25 to 34 reported having a pension, while just 24 per cent of workers aged 20 to 24 had a pension.

Pension coverage was greatest among workers aged 45-54 where over three-quarters were not just relying on the State pension, the CSO said.

The Republic is one of only two OECD countries without a mandatory earnings-related element to retirement, despite the low level of pension coverage here. The Government has promised to implement an auto-enrolment scheme by 2022 after previous deferrals.

Defined benefit

The CSO’s data showed that of those with a supplementary pension, 33.8 per cent had a defined-benefit or final-salary pension, 63.9 per cent had a defined-contribution pension and 2 per cent were hybrid.

Of the workers with no pension provision, more than half (52.2 per cent) stated their employer did not offer a pension scheme, 35.3 per cent cited affordability as one of the main reasons, while 37 per cent stated that they never got around to organising it.

The State pension was cited as the expected source of income on retirement for 57.6 per cent of workers with no pension coverage.

A breakdown by economic sector showed public-sector workers and the defence forces had the highest level of coverage at 95.8 per cent. By comparison, just over a fifth (21.1 per cent) of people working in the accommodation and food-service activities sector had pension coverage.

Reacting to the survey, lobby group Brokers Ireland noted that those who most need pension coverage were not included in the study because they were unemployed.

“These figures indicate that a very large portion of the population will be existing more than living in retirement with limited choices available to them,” Rachel McGovern, director of financial services at the organisation, said.

“For those who don’t own their homes at that stage in life it would be very difficult for them to be able to pay rent and live on the State pension alone,” she said.