Workers in the hospitality industry feel the least prepared for retirement compared to their peers in other sectors, according to a new study by Human Interest, the top-rated¹ and fastest-growing² 401(k) provider.
Human Interest and OnePoll conducted a survey of 2,000 workers across 11 industries about their retirement saving activities and attitudes. Each industry was scored against a set of nine retirement preparedness factors.
Hospitality workers, which include hotel, restaurant, and recreation employees, scored lowest overall. Only 44% of hospitality workers are confident they will retire comfortably. By contrast, 66% of finance workers and 78% of tech workers are confident they are headed for a comfortable retirement. Hospitality workers are also the least likely to be offered a retirement plan at work (39% compared to an across-industry average of 63%) or to save in a 401(k) or 403(b) (22% compared to 33%). They are also the least likely to contribute 11% to 15% of their paycheck, which fits within a threshold often recommended by industry experts.³ Hospitality workers are also most likely to rely financially on family members in retirement (19% expect to do so, compared to an average of 10% across other industries).
Workers in the technology industry feel the most prepared for retirement overall, followed by finance workers (which includes banking, insurance, and real estate). When comparing industries across all factors, workers in three industries reported below-average preparedness, and workers in seven industries reported above-average preparedness. Retail workers most closely represented average preparedness.
The study’s ‘retirement preparedness’ factors include access to, and eligibility for, a retirement plan through work. Recent analysis by Human Interest and BlackRock showed that the lack of access is a crucial obstacle to retirement saving. The same analysis found that the presence of an emergency fund is another factor in the industry ranking, as workers with emergency savings are more likely to contribute to a retirement plan and less likely to make a hardship withdrawal. Industries are also ranked based on the paycheck percentage that workers contribute to a retirement account and the amount they have saved. Finally, the ranking considers workers’ expectations and fears about retirement, including whether they expect to retire comfortably or to rely on family members financially, and whether they expect to retire early.
Other findings included:
Tech workers are the most likely to be offered a retirement plan by their employer and the second most likely to be eligible (after logistics). 76% of tech workers feel confident they will retire comfortably.
Finance workers, while they scored highly across the board, are the most likely to say they’re “unsure” how much they contribute to their 401(k).
50% of advertising/media/entertainment workers are saving in a 401(k) or 403(b) - the highest rate of any industry. But they are the most likely to contribute less than 5% of their paycheck.
Logistics workers are the most likely to say they are eligible for their employer’s retirement plan, suggesting that the industry is doing a good job with plan access. They are also the most likely to see investing in crypto as a form of saving.
After hospitality, retail workers are the least likely to be eligible for their employer’s plan.
Those working in agriculture are the most likely to have less than $100,000 saved for retirement, and the second least likely to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan. 15% of agriculture workers surveyed don’t plan to retire.
“Every worker, in every industry, should be able to plan for retirement,” said Rakesh Mahajan, Chief Revenue Officer of Human Interest. “It’s critical that employers across all industries not only offer retirement plans, but also make sure these plans are employee-friendly. That’s why, at Human Interest, we’re making 401(k) plans accessible to all employers - for example, by eliminating punitive, high-cost fees common elsewhere in the industry - while delighting employees with simplicity.”
Human Interest’s 401(k) plans are designed to be easy for employers of any size to offer and set up. The company was the first in the industry to eliminate over 20 types of transaction fees and it launched the industry’s fastest self-service onboarding, allowing small businesses to launch a 401(k) plan in as few as five clicks. To drive employee participation, Human Interest launched the first retirement cashback incentive plan and rolled out free financial wellness education resources.
Industry rankings by factor
The findings are based on a survey of 2,000 workers in 11 industries in August 2023. This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 salaried and 1,000 hourly employed Americans was commissioned by Human Interest between July 27 and July 31, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). Participants were asked about their retirement saving practices and the results were analyzed by industry. Each industry was scored against 9 factors to create a ranking of the industries by retirement preparedness.
Factors of retirement preparedness:
Overall confidence that they will have a comfortable retirement
Employer offers a retirement plan
Eligibility for employer retirement plan
Saving in a 401(k) or 403(b)
Contribution percentage (between 11 and 15%)
Amount in retirement fund (above $100,000)
Amount in emergency fund (above $1,000)
Expected reliance on family members in retirement
Likelihood of “pretiring” (ie stopping or reducing work prior to full retirement)
The Human Interest Team
We believe that everyone deserves access to a secure financial future, which is why we make it easy to provide a 401(k) to your employees. Human Interest offers a low-cost 401(k) with automated administration, built-in investment education, and integration with leading payroll providers.