Having discussed the growth and current status of company occupational pensions and the claimed role of pension provision in fostering employee loyalty to an organisation, this paper reports the findings of a research study that investigated employees’ perceptions of these types of pension scheme, a perspective that has hitherto been somewhat neglected. The findings show that, although employees had joined a company scheme largely automatically as a concomitant of employment, their current assessments of, and concerns about, different aspects of occupational pension schemes are framed in more nuanced, instrumental and individualistic terms: the attractive features of these schemes are not so much those that provide security for the employee as “breadwinner” and their dependants as those that offer a cost‐effective way for the individual to build up a fund for their own, possibly early, retirement. Company pension schemes are seen more as contingent private transactions than as part of long‐term stable commitments by and to an employer. On the basis of this evidence, it is argued that, if the employer is perceived as merely one possible pension provider among many, any link between pension provision and employee loyalty or commitment, a link that was always tenuous, is extremely fragile.
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