Workplace pension scheme membership dropped to 46% in 2012, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Its 2012 Annual survey of hours and earnings: summary of pensions results, compiled before the introduction of auto-enrolment in October 2012, found that pension scheme membership hit a 15-year low in 2012.
The ONS figures showed that 83% of public sector employees and 32% of private sector employees signed up for a pension scheme in 2012.
The proportion of employees in a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme continued to fall. In 2012, 28% of employees belonged to a DB scheme, compared with 46% in 1997.
When it came to pension contributions, a higher proportion of employees in the public sector contributed 7% or more of pensionable earnings in 2012 than in 2011. This accounted for 37% of employees, compared to just 11% in 2011.