PSCA survey: Average 401(k) match hit 4.1% in 2011

The average company contribution to 401(k) and profit-sharing plans climbed to 4.1% of employee pay in 2011, from 3.7% in 2010, according to an annual Plan Sponsor Council of America survey released Thursday.

“The company match is back,” Robert Benish, PSCA's interim president and executive director, said in an interview, adding that the company-contribution gain was among the most significant results of the survey.

The percentage of companies that made matching contributions rose to 95.5% in 2011 vs. 91% in 2010, among companies for which a corporate match was available, Mr. Benish said.

Mr. Benish also said the average participant deferral rate was to 6.4% of pay in 2011, from 6.2% in 2010. And the percentage of eligible employees making contributions to their plans rose to 79.5% from 76.9% during the same period.

Among the survey's other findings, automatic enrollment was used by 45.9% of plans last year compared to 41.8% in 2010; and the percentage of plans using auto enrollment with default rates greater than 3% rose to 32.2% last year from 25.8% in 2010.

The PSCA survey, conducted during the summer, was based on information from plan executives at 840 plans with a total of 10.3 million participants and $753 billion in assets.