The number of employees accruing benefits in private sector occupational schemes fell by 8.3 per cent to 5.7 million in mid-2000 from 6.2 million in 1995, according to the Government Actuary's Department's 11th annual survey of occupational pension schemes.
Average contribution rates, employee and employer combined, were 16.1 per cent of pensionable earnings for defined-benefit schemes and 8.5 per cent for defined-contribution schemes.
The figure for average assets per member was around £45,000 at the time of the survey although bigger schemes tended to have higher assets per member than smaller schemes.
Of the 5.7 million employee members of schemes, 4.7 million were contracted out of Serps mainly into salary-related contracted-out schemes.
Average assets per scheme varied from over £2.25bn for schemes with over 10,000 members to £500,000 for schemes with 11 or fewer members.
The GAD surveyed 550 private sector schemes from a random sample of the Opra pension scheme's registry database.
Deputy Government Actuary Andrew Young says: “These results show that, on average, only just half as much money goes into defined-contribution pensions as goes into defined-benefit pensions.
“In the long run, the amount going into pension schemes, whether defined-contribution or defined-benefit, will be reflected in the size of pensions they pay out.”