About 40% of large employers that operate in the United States have shifted to relying on defined contribution retirement plans, from defined benefit pension plans, over the past decade.

Researchers at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Washington, a consulting firm, have reported that finding in a survey of results from an informal survey of 300 large employers.

Surveyed companies that offer new hires only a defined contribution plans, such as a 401(k) plan, contribute an average of up to 5.82% of employees’ pay to the plan accounts.

Surveyed companies that continue to offer both defined benefit and defined contribution plans say they contribute an average of 4.41% of employees’ pay to the defined contribution plan accounts.

About 59% of the companies that still offer defined benefit plans say they are committed to continuing to offer the plans.