New research published by the UK's Department for Work and Pensions has shown that the proportion of private sector employers offering any pension to their employees has seen a considerable decline since 2003.

The survey findings showed the number of private sector employers offering some kind of pension provision had declined from 52 % to 44% over the last three years.

Furthermore, the proportion of employees who currently work for employers that offer any pension provision has also declined from 92% to 84%.

Of all private sector employees, only 34% were active members of some form of pension by or through their employer, a decrease from 38% in 2003, and 45% of small employers reported that they do not offer employees access to any form of pension.

Further findings from the survey of 2,401 employers, revealed 6% of employers were contributing to Occupational Pension schemes, covering 44% of employees but only 2% of employers had occupational schemes that were still open to new members.

The DWP also reported that there was a relatively high level of awareness among employers with defined benefit schemes of the Pensions Protection Fund, which was said to have been cautiously welcomed.