Which field you work in might make the difference between whether you have access to a retirement plan or not — and even how much you might be able to save.
Sound surprising? According to a study by the ADP Research Institute, which looked at nine different industry sectors to see who offered what (and who saved how much), the odds of your having a retirement plan are far better if you’re in manufacturing than in any of the other eight sectors.
Manufacturing employees are likely so fortunate because of the presence of unions in the sector, said the study, since “certain benefits may be contractually obligated.”
Employees get the chance to save, and they take it — although, interestingly enough, participants in manufacturing aren’t the highest-rate savers. That honor belongs to another sector, and it’s probably because of salary levels. More about that in a minute, however.
Just half of all the companies the institute surveyed offer retirement plans, so the odds are pretty much even whether people will have access to a plan or not.
But the most unfortunate sector — for its employees — is leisure and hospitality, where not only do less than a quarter of employees have access to a plan, their savings rate — when they have one — is near the bottom.
One other takeaway has to do with size: not just the business sector, but the size of the company you work for, can determine whether you’ll have a retirement plan.
Looking strictly at company size, just a third of companies with fewer than 20 employees provide retirement benefits to their employees, while 98 percent of companies numbering 5,000 or more do.
So size matters. Here’s a look at the nine business sectors and how they shake out with regard to retirement.
Manufacturing wins the employee benefit honors, with 67.1 percent of employers within the sector offering their employees retirement plans.
In addition, 96.5 percent of employees within the sector work for companies that have plans, although only 69.4 percent of those employees use the plans to save money.
Those who do save are serious about it, though, putting away an average of 6.9 percent of their savings.
Those working in the information field are also fortunate, with 63 percent of employers in the sector offering retirement plans.
More information employees — 98.7 percent, in fact — work at companies with benefits, and information sector employees are the most serious about saving, with 74.5 percent socking it away for the day after tomorrow.
Those savers tie with manufacturing for how much they save, though, at 6.9 percent.
3. Professional and business services
Employees in this sector are also fairly lucky, considering that 55.9 percent of employers in the sector provide retirement plans. (But notice how the number is dropping?)
And 97.8 percent of employees in this sector work for companies that offer plans.
While not as many save in retirement plans in this sector, at 60.3 percent, these guys save the most, at an average rate of 7.1 percent. That could be a function of salary.