Skip to main content

You are here


Retirement Readiness Not Monolithic

There is no shortage of concern regarding Americans’ retirement readiness. A recent report offers a look at that measure and finds that readiness — or the lack thereof — is not uniform across all groups and worker populations.

In “America’s Workforce: The Reality of Retirement Readiness” the Indexed Annuities Leadership Council (IALC) offers a look at retirement readiness by type of “collar” and by more specific industrial segments. The IALC scores retirement readiness based on the percentage of revenue needed for retirement that respondents said they already had saved.

Overall, the report says, workers in its study are 46.9% of the way there. But averages are derived from extremes; the IALC found that white collar workers were 49.1% ready, blue and gray collar workers were 44.7% on the road to readiness. (“Gray collar” is a term that denotes workers who are skilled technicians, someone who bridges the gap between white and blue collar jobs; for instance, those who hold information technology jobs and engineering jobs.)

The IALC also found considerable differences within more specific industries in the U.S. worker population.

Retirement Readiness, By Industry


Industry Retirement Readiness
Engineering 57.6%
Protective Services  50.5%
Education, Training, Library 48.6%
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Services 46.1%
Transportation and Material Moving 44.2%
Production 43.5%
Installation, Maintenance and Repair 42.1%
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance 42.1%`
Office and Administrative Support 40.9%
Construction and Extraction 40.9%
Food Preparation and Service 28,5%
Personal Care 27.5%

There also are disparities in access to retirement plans, the IALC found. White collar workers were the most likely to have such access. Access improved the most in the last 10 years, they say, for those working in the Construction, Extraction and Engineering sectors; however, access decreased for those in the Food Preparation and Service sector.

The key to retirement readiness, IALC argues is information. Overall, they found, U.S. workers are satisfied with how much information they receive from their employers about retirement options. And they found that employees of mid-sized employers are the employees most likely to seek assistance in financial planning from their employer’s human resources department.

But that satisfaction is not universal, they found. The report says that more than one-third of workers in small businesses said their employers were “not helpful at all” in supporting their retirement planning. Just under half — 45% — of workers in the Food Preparation and Service sector are not satisfied with the information their employers provide, and more than 50% of the workers in the Personal Care sector feel that way.