Employees in the 35 to 49 age group are least likely to be satisfied that they have enough savings for their retirement, according to research.
Retirement specialist Aon found debt remained a major concern for this age group, to the extent that about a third could not rustle up £1,000 if they had an emergency.
The Aon DC and Financial Wellbeing member survey 2018 found factors such as the volatile property market and rising levels of personal debt were adding to the downturn in retirement prospects.
Sophia Singleton, partner and head of DC Consulting at Aon, said: "This year’s survey highlights that people mid-career are the least likely to rate their overall financial situation as good and are the most likely to have debts.
"They are also the least likely to be engaged with their company pension and are the ones who feel more squeezed and worried about their savings.
"They are concerned that they will have to work longer while still not knowing how they will be placed financially at retirement. We need to engage with the ‘squeezed middle’ now - before it becomes too late."
Aon had surveyed more than 1,000 full-time UK employees with access to DC plans through their employer, and included real life experiences from participants in its DC pension and financial wellbeing focus groups.
The research was conducted in summer 2018 in collaboration with Ipsos.
It found more than seven in 10 people felt confident about making financial decisions that affect their future, while almost six in 10 did not feel they had enough to see them through their retirement.
Additionally, about half of the respondents said they could not afford to save more, but 28 per cent said nothing was preventing them from saving more.
Martin Parish, area director at Aon, said: "Individuals often lack understanding when making financial decisions and managing their savings – and as such, they may not be taking action to meet any shortfalls or to cover risks.
"Employers have a key role to play in providing guidance and education on financial matters and wellbeing, in order to help employees avoid disappointments during their careers."
Ricky Chan, director at IFS Wealth & Pensions, said: "Mid-lifers are the age group that is most likely to be looking at buying a home, and many are starting a family, so it makes sense that they are struggling to plan for their retirement.
"I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t been contacted about auto-enrolment to speak to their employer and everyone else to consider a personal pension, because the state pension will probably not provide."