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Top Jobs With the Best Retirement Benefits

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Overview

Whether you're on the verge of entering the workforce or contemplating a career change, you probably want to know which jobs and industries offer robust retirement benefits to their employees. Many government jobs are among those that still offer traditional pensions, while most private sector jobs provide defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, says Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management. Positions at large companies and union jobs also tend to have better retirement benefits.

Financial Services

Business meeting in an office
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The banking, insurance and asset management sectors have long provided strong retirement benefits, Elliott says. "Not only do they typically have 401(k) plans with fairly generous matches, but they also offer a lot in the way of education to their employees on retirement planning and their financial options," Elliott says. Many financial services companies also offer supplemental executive retirement plans, such as non-qualified deferred compensation plans, to top-level management that allow them to put more money toward retirement.

Construction

Silhouetted girders with worker and crane
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Construction-related jobs can include roofers, electricians, plumbers, masons and carpenters, and these positions typically have strong retirement benefits. According to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private companies in natural resources, construction and maintenance spent $1.86 on retirement costs for every hour worked -- mainly toward traditional pension plans -- compared to other private companies, who spent an average of $1.07 on retirement costs. Construction employers, in particular, spent $2.35 on retirement costs per hour worked.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 9 -- Private Industry Workers, Goods-Producing and Service-Providing Industries

Government

Fire engine parked in firehouse
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The public sector is one of the few places that still offers traditional pensions. Local, state and federal government jobs remain good bets for strong retirement packages, but Elliott says some cities that were hit hard by the 2008 recession began requesting employee contributions for the first time or converted their retirement plans from traditional pensions to defined contribution plans.

Manufacturing

Factory worker
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Many manufacturing jobs are covered by unions, who still push for strong retirement plans for members, Elliott says. "Unions are pretty tough when it comes to benefits; they're more than happy to trade increases in cash for an enhanced benefit where the employer contributes more to medical or pension benefits." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing companies spent an average of $1.29 toward retirement costs per work hour, compared to all private employers, who spent an average of $1.07.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 10 -- Private Industry Workers, by Industry Group

Education

Teacher Pointing to Primary School Students With Raised Hands in a Classroom
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Jobs in education are also one of the few places that still offer traditional pensions. Teachers unions often lobby for their members to get better retirement benefits, Elliott says. "It's a trade-off. In academia, you're not going to make as much money as you would in private industry, but you will get a better retirement benefit," Elliott says. "So before you choose an industry to work in, it might make sense to look at the present value of what you're getting versus the future value of that retirement benefit."

Utilities

Telephone Pole and Lineman
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Utility workers, such as trash collection, sewage treatment, and electric and gas power generation, often have strong retirement benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private utility companies spent $6.68 toward retirement costs per hour worked, while other private service-providing companies spent an average of 97 cents on retirement per hour worked. Furthermore, many utility workers are often members of unions, who lobby for stronger retirement benefits.

Nursing

Senior patient with young doctor
Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

Nurses are also often members of unions that push for strong retirement benefits. Employers of registered nurses spend an average of $1.71 per hour worked on retirement costs, compared to all private health care and social assistance companies, who spent an average of only 86 cents per hour worked, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 14 -- Private Industry Health Care and Social Assistance Workers, by Industry and Occupational Group

Management

Businesswoman and man by desk in office, portrait
Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Employees who are managers are more likely to receive strong retirement packages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry companies spent $2.15 per hour worked by managers toward their retirement costs, compared to $1.07 for all workers. Senior managers at some companies may also be offered supplemental executive retirement plans, Elliott says.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 5 -- Private Industry Workers, by Major Occupational Group and Bargaining Unit Status

Overview

Friendly officer
John Roman/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you're on the verge of entering the workforce or contemplating a career change, you probably want to know which jobs and industries offer robust retirement benefits to their employees. Many government jobs are among those that still offer traditional pensions, while most private sector jobs provide defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, says Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management. Positions at large companies and union jobs also tend to have better retirement benefits.

Financial Services

Business meeting in an office
Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

The banking, insurance and asset management sectors have long provided strong retirement benefits, Elliott says. "Not only do they typically have 401(k) plans with fairly generous matches, but they also offer a lot in the way of education to their employees on retirement planning and their financial options," Elliott says. Many financial services companies also offer supplemental executive retirement plans, such as non-qualified deferred compensation plans, to top-level management that allow them to put more money toward retirement.

Construction

Silhouetted girders with worker and crane
Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Construction-related jobs can include roofers, electricians, plumbers, masons and carpenters, and these positions typically have strong retirement benefits. According to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private companies in natural resources, construction and maintenance spent $1.86 on retirement costs for every hour worked -- mainly toward traditional pension plans -- compared to other private companies, who spent an average of $1.07 on retirement costs. Construction employers, in particular, spent $2.35 on retirement costs per hour worked.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 9 -- Private Industry Workers, Goods-Producing and Service-Providing Industries

Government

Fire engine parked in firehouse
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The public sector is one of the few places that still offers traditional pensions. Local, state and federal government jobs remain good bets for strong retirement packages, but Elliott says some cities that were hit hard by the 2008 recession began requesting employee contributions for the first time or converted their retirement plans from traditional pensions to defined contribution plans.

Manufacturing

Factory worker
ndoeljindoel/iStock/Getty Images

Many manufacturing jobs are covered by unions, who still push for strong retirement plans for members, Elliott says. "Unions are pretty tough when it comes to benefits; they're more than happy to trade increases in cash for an enhanced benefit where the employer contributes more to medical or pension benefits." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing companies spent an average of $1.29 toward retirement costs per work hour, compared to all private employers, who spent an average of $1.07.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 10 -- Private Industry Workers, by Industry Group

Education

Teacher Pointing to Primary School Students With Raised Hands in a Classroom
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Jobs in education are also one of the few places that still offer traditional pensions. Teachers unions often lobby for their members to get better retirement benefits, Elliott says. "It's a trade-off. In academia, you're not going to make as much money as you would in private industry, but you will get a better retirement benefit," Elliott says. "So before you choose an industry to work in, it might make sense to look at the present value of what you're getting versus the future value of that retirement benefit."

Utilities

Telephone Pole and Lineman
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Utility workers, such as trash collection, sewage treatment, and electric and gas power generation, often have strong retirement benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private utility companies spent $6.68 toward retirement costs per hour worked, while other private service-providing companies spent an average of 97 cents on retirement per hour worked. Furthermore, many utility workers are often members of unions, who lobby for stronger retirement benefits.

Nursing

Senior patient with young doctor
Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

Nurses are also often members of unions that push for strong retirement benefits. Employers of registered nurses spend an average of $1.71 per hour worked on retirement costs, compared to all private health care and social assistance companies, who spent an average of only 86 cents per hour worked, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 14 -- Private Industry Health Care and Social Assistance Workers, by Industry and Occupational Group

Management

Businesswoman and man by desk in office, portrait
Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Employees who are managers are more likely to receive strong retirement packages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry companies spent $2.15 per hour worked by managers toward their retirement costs, compared to $1.07 for all workers. Senior managers at some companies may also be offered supplemental executive retirement plans, Elliott says.

Related: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table 5 -- Private Industry Workers, by Major Occupational Group and Bargaining Unit Status

About the Author

Lisa Chiu has been a journalist since 1998, covering everything from congressional lobbying to bee exterminators. She has worked for "The Orange County Register," "The Arizona Republic" and "The Seattle Times." Chiu holds a master's degree in China studies from the University of Washington.

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