EMPLOYER contributions to final salary pension schemes are almost three times more generous than money purchase plans, figures indicated.

Analysis by the Office of National Statistics revealed that the average company contribution rate in 2005 to private sector defined contribution schemes (money purchase plans) was 6.3% of salary, as against 16% for defined benefit schemes (final salary plans).

The discrepancy is likely to be a result of firms trying to shrink the existing `black hole' in their final salary schemes by putting in more cash, as well as needing extra money for what is traditionally seen as a more generous model of staff pension.

The analysis also found that among members of private sector defined contribution plans, 40% had total contributions of less than 8% of salary in 2006.

For people in sales and customer services occupations contribution levels were lower, with almost three-quarters putting in less than 8%.

Between 1995 and 2005 individual contributions to all types of occupational and personal pensions schemes grew steadily from £14bn to £22bn.

The rise in employer contributions over the decade was greater, from £21bn to £53bn.

But pension experts said people were still not saving enough cash for their retirement through workplace schemes.