The government must address the record drop in public confidence in pensions or risk mass opt-outs from auto-enrolment, a trade body warns.
The National Association of Pension Funds' (NAPF) annual confidence survey found 48% of working adults did not have faith in pensions forcing its confidence index into negative territory for the first time.
Its survey of 896 employees also found just 28% rated pensions as the most important benefit, down from 41% last year.
The organisation believes the sharp falls reflect low consumer confidence, perceptions of pensions' inflexibility and costs, and this summer's heavy stock market falls.
The NAPF pensions confidence index now stands at -6%, down from 5% the year before and 11% in 2009.
A Populus survey also found six out of ten workers were not sure if their pension would provide enough money to live on in retirement, with only a third confident it would.
The proportion who believe pensions are the best way to save for retirement also dropped to 35%, down from 44% in 2010.
NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars called on the government to simplify the state pension to set a foundation for retirement on which people can build their workplace pension.
"Household incomes are very tightly squeezed and with bills to pay pension outlays can seem like the weakest link," she said.
"There is also a perception the goalposts are constantly being moved, so the government must stress the importance of saving."
Segars said more and more people were rating flexible working as the best workplace benefit, which suggested they were thinking about today rather than saving for tomorrow.
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