The Financial Services Roundtable announced a drive Monday called “Save 10” to prod employers to get workers to save at least 10 percent of their pay through 401(k) auto-enrollment, auto-escalation and increased employer pension contributions.

Noting close to 60 percent of big 401(k) programs with over 500 workers don’t auto-enroll, FSR said the initiative could set the standard for all employers to fundamentally drive change in retirement savings.

But auto-enrollment, which is viewed by many as the main avenue to retirement security, isn’t the only effective approach, FSR Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Francis Creighton said.

“It’s not whether or not companies have auto-enrollment. If a business can figure out a different way to skin the cat, that’s fine,” said Creighton.

One alternative being used widely and successfully, said the executive, is for companies to give sizeable end-of-the-year cash or stock bonuses that can be put into pension plans that have tax advantages.

The Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group for the nation’s largest financial firms, is enlisting big employers in the Save 10, such as IBM and United Technologies, individual financial giants (LPL Financial, Principal Investments and Northern Trust, to name a few) and consumer groups such as the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (Wiser Women).

Creighton said Save 10 is a long-term project aiming to use individual business leader-to-business leader contact and corporate peer pressure as its primary modus operandi.

“Peer companies benchmark against each to provide employee benefits. Our goal is to get the word out on what companies are doing well so many companies will try to emulate them,” he said.

Creighton said saving 10 percent of a worker’s pay with employee contributions and employer matches was chosen because the number is achievable.

He explained that 15 percent would have scared workers off as too much to take away from their current needs, while 5 percent would have been too little to help them significantly in their after work years.

However, 10 percent is actually too small, he acknowledged.

“If you start saving 10 percent at age 40, 10 percent is probably not enough. But if we can encourage you to start at 10 percent, we can at least get you into the system and maybe in the future you will save at a higher level,” said Creighton.

He called it a fair point when asked if workers would balk at their employers urging to think long term as “do as I say, not as I do,” because many companies are chasing after short-term stock gains and profitability increases through share buy backs.