Deloitte Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey

Biennial report highlights contribution trends

The retirement landscape has changed—are plan sponsors ready? Deloitte's biennial Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey shows how plan sponsors are working to address increasingly diverse retirement needs.

The shifting retirement landscape

In the era of 100-year lives and with the workforce participation rate among those age 65 or older surpassing 20 percent for the first time in more than 50 years, Americans’ notion of “normal retirement” is changing.

The 2019 edition of the Deloitte Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey confirms this trend by showing that many employees continue to work even though they are eligible to retire. The rise of workers in the 65+ population continuing to work can be attributed to employee preference to work longer, the need to keep health care coverage, and unmet financial needs that prevent retirement.

In response, plan sponsors are shifting focus to a broader picture of financial wellness to better understand the short-term and intermediate barriers participants face in saving for retirement. They are changing plan features to improve effectiveness, enhancing digital capabilities, and moving toward a more focused approach on participant financial well-being, but our 2019 report explores whether it has been enough.

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Defined contribution trends and the role of participants

Even though plan sponsors are committed to improving many retirement plan aspects for participants, they face several emerging challenges—some of which are simply beyond their control, such as shifts in demographics, perspectives, health care, and alternative employment opportunities. Participants are experiencing growing financial demands, and in response, they struggle to fully participate and benefit from their defined contribution plan. However, other challenges could be viewed as opportunities. Time will tell if plan sponsors can pivot with the changing tides.

Employees are working more years of their lives than ever before. This shift of employees that would have retired to continuing employment means that the traditional view on retirement plans has also shifted. To boost participation in this changing environment, plan sponsors have instituted stronger and broader digital financial well-being solutions, targeted communications to enhance employee experience, and increasingly offer Roth features for greater flexibility in tax planning.


Hot topics and defined contribution trends

Download the complete Deloitte 2019 Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey report to find out more about defined contribution trends and hot topics, including the changing face of retirement, plan personalization, financial wellness, digital financial well-being solutions like “robo-advisor”, eligibility, enrollment, contributions, investments, fees, administration capabilities, communication and innovation, provider relationships, and plan effectiveness.


Background on the 2019 defined contribution survey participants

This is the 16th year of the Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey, capturing the responses of about 240 plan sponsors. Our 2019 findings reflect a varied population of defined contribution plan sponsors in the United States, with financial services/insurance, manufacturing, public sector, and health care and life sciences as the most prevalent industries represented at approximately 17 percent each.

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