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Occupational Pensions

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The proportion of those in employment with an occupational pension from their current employment who identified their pension as a Defined Contribution pension was 68.5%, and 28.0% of those in employment had a Defined Benefit occupational pension from their current job, while 3.4% had a Hybrid pension. Rates of Defined Benefit occupational pension cover is highest for the older age groups, with 44.7% of females and 37.0% of males in the 55 to 69 years age group having a Defined Benefit occupational pension in their current employment. By comparison, of employees aged 25 to 34 years, just 23.6% of males and 27.1% of females had a Defined Benefit occupational pension from their current employment, as did just 25% of males and 32.7% of females in the 35 to 44 years age group. See Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1.

Self-employed persons who are incorporated self-employed i.e. working for their own company, can have an occupational pension. If their only current employment/source of income is as a self-employed individual i.e. not an employee they could only access an RAC or PRSA and not an occupational pension scheme, or they could have previously contributed to an occupational pension scheme during a period as an employee.

Self-employed persons, who did not have a current occupational pension, were asked if they had an occupational pension from a previous employment. Nearly eight in ten (78.2%) confirmed they had a Defined Contribution pension, while 18.1% had a Defined Benefit occupational pension and 3.8% were part of a Hybrid pension scheme from a previous employment. See Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1.

Show Table: Table 4.1 Persons with occupational pension coverage by pension type Q3 2021

Defined BenefitDefined ContributionHybrid
Employees with an occupational pension from their current employment2868.53.4
Employees with occupational pension, only from a previous employment18.178.23.8
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In the 2021 survey, respondents were asked the length of time that they had been part of their occupational pension scheme. Nearly one in five (19.0%) stated that they had been contributing to their occupational pension scheme in their current job for twenty years or more, while just over one third (34.6%) had been in their pension scheme in their current employment for less than five years. See Table 4.2.

Over one third (34.4%) of ‘defined benefit’ occupational pension holders were part of their pension scheme for 20 years or more, compared with just one in eight (12.1%) ‘defined contribution’ pension schemes. Similarly, over four in ten (40.7%) pension holders with ‘defined benefit’ pension schemes from previous employments, are in it for twenty years or more, while just 9.7% of ‘defined contribution’ schemes form previous employments are for this duration. See Table 4.2.

Show Table: Table 4.2 Persons with an occupational pension classified by length of time in pension scheme, Q3 2021

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Further analysis of occupational pensions in current contribution by age group shows that nearly half (46.7%) of occupational pension holders in current employment who are aged between 55 and 69 years have been in their pension scheme for 20 years or more, while 32.1% of occupational pension holders aged 45 to 54 years were in their pension scheme for this duration. See Table 4.3.

Nearly seven in ten (69.2%) of 25 to 34 years with occupational pension in current employment, have been a member of their pension scheme for 5 years or less, while one in eight (12.3%) have been in their pension scheme between 5 and 9 years. See Table 4.3.

Show Table: Table 4.3 Persons with an occupational pension from their current job classified by length of time in pension scheme and age group, Q3 2021

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Over half of employees (53.3%) without an occupational pension said that their employer did not offer a pension scheme, while 23.8% had chosen not to join their employer's pension scheme. A further 13.7% of employees without an occupational pension were not eligible to join their employer’s occupational pension scheme. See Table 4.4 and Figure 4.2.

Of those in part-time employment who do not have occupational pension coverage from their current job, 17.2% stated that they are not eligible to join their employer’s pension scheme, compared with one in eight (12.0%) of persons in full-time employment. Just 17% of those in part-time employment chose not to join their employer’s pension scheme, while nearly six in ten (59.5%) reported that their employer did not offer a pension scheme, compared with just over half (50.3%) of those in full-time employment. See Table 4.4.

Show Table: Table 4.4 Employees aged 20 to 69 years who do not have an occupational pension by reasons for not having an occupational pension, Q3 2020 and Q3 2021

X-axis labelMaleFemale
My employer does not offer a company pension scheme51.754.7
I have chosen not to join my employer's pension scheme25.222.5
I am not eligible to join my employer's pension scheme13.214.1
Not stated9.98.7

The most common sectors where the employer did not offer a pension scheme for employees were the Construction (60.8%), Accommodation and food service activities (60.7%) and Administrative and support service activities (60.5%) NACE sectors. See Table 4.5.

Show Table: Table 4.5 Employees' reasons for not having an occupational pension by NACE economic sector and broad occupational group, Q3 2020 and Q3 2021

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Over two thirds (67.3%) of self-employed persons with occupational pension coverage from previous employments have ‘defined contribution’ pensions while 28.5% have ‘defined benefit’ pensions. Just over one fifth (21.3%) of these ‘defined contribution’ schemes were for twenty years or more, compared with almost four in ten (39.0%) of ‘defined benefit’ schemes of the same duration. See Table 4.6 and Table 4.7.

Show Table: Table 4.6 Self employed persons with occupational pension coverage by pension type, Q3 2021

Show Table: Table 4.7 Self employed persons with occupational pension coverage by length of time in pension scheme, Q3 2021

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