Sponsors of defined benefit (DB) schemes have squeezed their workers' wages by around £200 compared to companies without these funds, a think tank has revealed.
In a report sent to the Intergenerational Commission, the Resolution Foundation said 10% of the money paid into schemes since the start of the decade had been funded by keeping wages down.
The wage cuts have hit lower paid and/or younger workers - who are often not able to join DB schemes - the hardest, the think tank added.
The report, The Pay Deficit: Measuring the effect of pension deficit payments on workers' wages, calculated that £2bn of the £24bn of deficit payments were funded by hindering wage growth.
It examined data from 475 FTSE companies, which were all at some point among the 300 largest UK companies by market capitalisation in the noughties. Two in three had exposure to at least one DB scheme, while all firms accounted for a third of DB payments between 2004 and 2015.
Resolution Foundation chief economist Matt Whittaker said the youngest workers were being unfairly hit.
"For the first time, there is indeed a link between rising pension deficit payments since the turn of the century and reduced pay, he said. "The scale of increased deficit payments reduced workers' wages by around £2bn last year, with workers in affected firms losing out on £200 on average.
"This drag on pay has important implications across generations as low - and often younger - earners in affected firms are losing out on pay even when they are not entitled to the pension pots they are plugging."
Companies are not required to report deficit payments separately in the accounts, so the costs were extrapolated by subtracting "current service costs" from total employer contributions and then weighting that by the total wage bill.
Hymans Robertson head of DB consulting Jon Hatchett said the squeeze was being driven by low equity returns, low interest rates, and improvements in longevity.
"These figures are not a surprise," he added. "DB pension schemes have cost more than anyone ever thought that they would. Cash clearly does need to be diverted to address the deficits. The deficit figures are so substantial that it is not a surprise that this is affecting take home pay.
"The employers who are seeing the reduction in pay while companies divert these funds are unfortunately often the very same savers who are facing massive shortfalls in their own pensions. The cost of meeting legacy DB promises is one drag on corporate spending and stops the budget for defined contribution contributions rising."
On most measures, deficits have risen significantly over the past year on the back of falling gilt yields and a long-term trend of low interest rates. At the end of April the Pension Protection Fund's 7800 Index had an aggregate deficit of £245.6bn under the section 179 calculation.
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