Industries with the Best 401(k) Matches

These employees are getting the biggest company contributions to their 401(k).

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Workers in the private sector were offered a median 401(k) match of 3 percent of pay in 2010. But the maximum possible employer contribution is considerably higher for specific groups of workers. Here’s a look at which employees are getting the biggest company contributions to their 401(k) plan.

[See 7 Signs of a Good 401(k) Plan.]

Employees of credit intermediation firms. Credit intermediation companies generally offer the most generous 401(k) contributions of any industry—a median of 5 percent of pay, according to recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2010. Employers in this sector include mortgage and loan brokerages, clearinghouse and reserve services, check cashing services, and other financial institutions that lend funds raised from depositors or credit market borrowing.

Protective service workers. Employees in the service sector generally get a below average 401(k) match, unless they work in the protective service. Protective service employees in the private sector got a median employer contribution to their 401(k) of 5 percent of pay in 2010.

Managers. Management employees in the business and financial industry got a median employer contribution of 4 percent of pay to their retirement account. And those in the 90th percentile had a median of 6 percent of pay deposited into their 401(k) as a matching contribution.

[See 5 Employers With Generous 401(k) Matches.]

Western residents. Workers who live in the Pacific (4 percent of pay), New England (3.6 percent), and Middle Atlantic (3.6 percent) regions get a larger median 401(k) match than those in the rest of the country (3 percent).

Insurance carriers. Employees who underwrite or sell annuities and insurance policies received a median 401(k) contribution of 3.9 percent of their salary in 2010.

Trade, transportation, and utilities workers. The trade, transportation, and utilities sectors provided a maximum possible 401(k) match of 3.5 percent of pay last year.

Large company employees. Large companies generally provide more generous retirement benefits than smaller businesses. Employees at firms with 500 or more workers received a median 401(k) contribution of 3.5 percent of pay, compared to a median of 3 percent at smaller companies.

[See The 10 Most Difficult Retirement Decisions.]

The smallest employer contributions to 401(k) plans were provided by health care and social assistance employers (2 percent of pay) and the service industry (2.5 percent of pay) in 2010.

Twitter: @aiming2retire