About 37% of all workers aged 21-30 participate in a retirement plan at work, according to a new analysis.

Among those who participate, a 401(k)-type defined contribution plan was the most common, according to the analysis, by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.

The study also found 60.6% of these younger workers are employed at a firm that sponsors a plan.

EBRI found that plan involvement has increased among younger workers during a 5-year span. Using the most recent statistics, 2003, the group determined that participation in a plan offered by a current job was up to 36.6% among younger workers, from 32.2% in 1998.

Of participating workers, 26% are in a defined-benefit (pension) plan only, 58.7% are in a defined-contribution plan only and 13.5% are in both kinds of plan.

The percentage of younger workers who have ever participated in an employment-based plan has also increased to 40.4% from 36.8% in 1998.

Of the younger workers who are not in a plan though they are working at employers where a plan is available, 53.4% cite ineligibility as the reason for withstanding, and 18.2% claim that they withstanding because they cannot afford to contribute.