Two-fifths (40 per cent) of all U.S. private sector employees don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan and non-white workers have the least access to these plans, according to a report by T. Rowe Price Group Inc.

It found that, while 58 per cent of white employees had access to workplace retirement plans, this percentage decreased to 41 per cent among Black workers and 32 per cent among Hispanic workers. As well, participation in retirement plans was higher among underrepresented communities when given access to these plans.

Roughly two-fifths (38 per cent) of white 401(k) plan members said they started saving before age 30, compared to 29 per cent of Hispanic and just 18 per cent of Black plan members. More than 30 per cent of Black and Hispanic 401(k) plan members said they didn’t start saving for retirement until age 40 or older.

Read: Majority of millennials aren’t saving enough for retirement: survey

The median 401(k) account balance among women was just US$21,600, less than a third of the $62,000 median balance among men. And while the median 401(k) balance among baby boomer women was 54 per cent of the median for men, the median balance for millennial women was only 35 per cent of the median for their male counterparts.

The report also examined the impact of plan design and communications on member behaviour. Among plans that offer automatic enrolment, plan member participation was 85 per cent, compared to just 39 per cent among plans that don’t include this feature.

And plan members aged 30 to 50 were 30 per cent less likely to make an online withdrawal from their plan if they engaged with financial wellness content, while plan members who watched short, personalized, interactive videos were twice as likely to increase their deferrals compared with those who didn’t.

Read: Survey finds retirement savings plans key to employee retention