Some 53% of UK employers believe the costs associated with their defined benefit (DB) pension schemes are having a negative impact on salary increases, a new report says.
In addition, 80% believe the costs are worsening inter-generational equity, and 84% want the law to change so that schemes can reduce pension increases if they will severely and adversely affect the employer.
The Association of consulting Actuaries (ACA), which carried out the research, also found that 55% of employers believe further legal restrictions will accelerate the closure of schemes to future accrual.
ACA chairman, Bob Scott, said: "Legislative and regulatory changes seem unremitting and are continuing to present challenges to sponsors and trustees.
"Our findings this year paint a picture of defined benefit schemes where complexities introduced over the years - largely by dint of public policy - have taken their toll."
The research involved a survey of 466 employers, finding 32% believe that consolidation of DB schemes is "generally a good thing", and that it results in real cost savings.
Although most believe legal restrictions will result in more scheme closures, 79% support increased punishments for those caught mismanaging schemes.
It was also found that 68% would like new criminal offences for directors who "deliberately and recklessly" put at risk the ability of a scheme to meet it obligations.
On pensions taxation, 36% of employers say tax relief restrictions have led to pressures to revise pay and benefit packages, while 22% have had to reconsider their own pension arrangements.
In addition, 52% say these restrictions have caused those on higher incomes to leave their firm's scheme, just 13% support pensions being paid tax-free, and 77% want more help for those on lower incomes.
"It is clear relief restrictions in recent years have had a major impact on pay and benefits strategies at firms, with many senior staff 'opting out' of pension arrangements as a result," Scott continued.
"Beyond doubt this has had an adverse impact on support for schemes within firms, often with those on lower incomes losing out as a result."