Just a third (34 per cent) of U.S. small- and medium-sized employers say they offer retirement benefits, according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments.

The survey, which polled more than 500 SMEs, found that, among respondents that don’t offer a retirement plan, half (48 per cent) said they can’t afford to, while a fifth said they’re too busy (22 per cent) or don’t know how to begin the process of offering a retirement plan (21 per cent).

Read: 80% of SMEs in Eastern Canada don’t provide employee benefits: survey

Among employers with 10 or fewer employees, more than half (55 per cent) said they don’t offer a retirement savings plan. These employers were most likely (71 per cent) to cite cost as the reason for not offering a plan. While most of these respondents agreed employees expect to be offered retirement benefits, the majority (82 per cent) said they can’t compete on benefits with larger companies.

When asked about their own retirement savings, the vast majority (85 per cent) of employers said they should be saving more for retirement, while three-quarters (75 per cent) said they’re unsure if they’re saving enough and 42 per cent said they’re worried they won’t be able to retire.

“Small business owners are faced with so many challenges as they grow their business, from finding new customers to identifying their next round of funding,” says Andrew Schreiner, senior vice-president of small business retirement at Fidelity, in a press release. “In addition to helping their employees establish a secure financial future, a retirement benefit also can have an enormous impact in attracting and retaining top talent.”

Read: Survey finds SMEs using benefits to attract, retain employees