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Analyzing Participant Data by DEI Factors

Sponsored by MFS Investment Management


As there has been some recognition in the industry in the last couple of years about the retirement savings gap by gender and race, and many articles discussing how companies can beginning to address these gaps, we wondered if plan sponsors are looking at their participant data (participation and savings rates) by these factors, and if so, if they are taking any steps to address any disparities.

Forty percent of plans do analyze participant data by demographics, most commonly by age and some by gender. Many plans that do analyze participant data state they do not take any action, they are just monitoring differences at this time. The most common approach by companies taking action is to provide targeted education and communications to any groups that were lagging. For those respondents that are not looking at participant demographics, many already have high participation rates and don’t see the need, some target non and low savers regardless of demographics, and other feel that “Our job is to provide the opportunity, not to assure the result.” More comments follow.

Analyze participant demographics:

  • Additional employee education
  • Age and gender. Don't think we have race information in our demographic information at this point in time.
  • Because we have a large Spanish speaking population we are trying to have many more communications translated from English into Spanish.
  • Education
  • Have not seen significant differences in savings rates
  • No steps, review from time to time
  • No. We only analyze participation by age, but are considering more categorical analysis.
  • None have warranted any actions to date.
  • Only training on the benefits of saving at a higher rate
  • Our plan provider has customized communications to different groups.
  • Posting flyers to educate employees
  • Targeted communication campaigns.
  • The only thing we do is target some messaging based on age levels.  We have not specifically made any other changes as a result of the monitoring of the savings differences.
  • The savings plan tends to be consistent between age groups until we see people closer to the retirement age.  This is the group that has the higher savings percentage.
  • We are working on targeted communications for all different types.
  • We do analyze and try to focus on low contribution demographics
  • We do at committee meetings
  • We had an employee say that our matching rate was to high for the employee deferral. Our company matches 30% on the first 15% of employee deferral.  The employees said the young employees do not have that much money do defer 15% to get the full employer match.  We did an analysis on deferral rates and age.  We communicated back to the company the statistic of our plan on deferrals and age.  We discovered that our younger employees were deferring at high rates to receive the full employer match. We even bench marked the data that we showed the employees on deferral rates against the PSCA survey.  The survey results came in very handy.
  • We only look at this based on age, not by race or gender.
  • We review during our NDT process and create communication programs around any areas of concern.
  • We slice and dice by every piece of demographic data we have. This helps us identify who needs targeted attention.
  • We take a general approach to educate the group as a whole.
  • We try targeted communications to the different groups
  • We use the demographic data (which also includes work location, union/nonunion, exempt/nonexempt, etc.) to help us focus our education and outreach efforts. We are also aware, though, that employees may have other savings measures outside our organization and therefore outside our knowledge.
  • Yes by communications
  • Yes, we along with our recordkeeper provide targeted communications to various demographic groups
  • Yes, we recently reduced our eligibility age from 21 to 18 (to start saving earlier) and increased the match to help those that needed it.


Do not analyze participant demographics:


  • At this time we do not segregate by race but we do between employment categories & age
  • focus more on education on how important savings is for retirement from start to finish
  • In regards to racial gaps, we always try to have any information or education available in our two main languages.
  • It is on our agenda to look into but we haven't had the capacity recently
  • No - we encourage saving and provide retirement education to the company as a whole regardless of grouping
  • No -- but that's a great idea!
  • No we do not
  • No, I have a 93% participation rate.
  • No, I just remind folks who are not participating that they are losing out on free money.
  • No, not at this time.
  • No, not worth the time and effort
  • No, we have not done this.
  • No.
  • No.  Our job is to provide the opportunity, not to assure the result.
  • No.  We don't address race or gender gaps in our retirement plan, but we offer a defined contribution to disperse funds equally.
  • Not by demographics.  We conduct general participation checkups.
  • Not specifically but we do have auto enroll and auto increase which, as I understand it, is supposed to help equalize savings across the org.
  • We are a Safe Harbor subject to Testing for fairness.  All employees are given 3% of their pay.  Of seven employees, the only employee not participating is a 50 yr old male.
  • We are working on updating our HR feed to our recordkeeper to include ethnicity – with the intent to review this type of data going forward
  • We do not address by groups but staff as a whole.  We have 100% participation with at least a 2.5% employee contribution.  More than 70% contribute an additional amount.
  • We do not at this moment, but I feel the results would be interesting.
  • we don't have savings differences based on racial, gender gaps.
  • We have over 90% participation rate.  We do no analyze further.
  • we have tried in the past but much of our workforce participate in the target date plans.
  • We look at union v non-union, by pay level, exempt v non-exempt, but not by DEI groups/status. We target employees not getting the full match.
  • We've moved to a Safe Harbor plan, so hoping the increased match will increase participation amongst all groups.
  • Will want to do this sometime soon.
  • Yes, via the marketing that we received from Fidelity.