If most people swap jobs every few years, does it really make sense for employers to be responsible for their retirement savings?
I have to agree with you that the whole "mandatory retirement contribution" thing is pretty much just an annoyance for all concerned today. I understand the rationale for it (because most people are incapable of long-term planning), but it's a terrible idea for people who are in jobs for a short term and need to deal with all sorts of different retirement accounts spread out in various systems.
When I was younger, I took a few short-term jobs and once worked as a state employee for a couple years. In all of these I was required to make mandatory "contributions" out of my pay toward retirement accounts. Well, with the state employee system, I was told when I left that I didn't have enough years to qualify for a pension, so unless I returned to the system, my account would accrue interest for 5 years, after which it would become dormant. I could withdraw the money and put it in an IRA or something at any time, but by doing so, I would forfeit the years of experience I had accrued in the system.
Anyhow, at first I wanted to keep options open, so I didn't withdraw immediately. And then the interest rates the account was paying was pretty good compared to how things were going in the market at the time, so I figured I'd just withdraw after the 5 years. Well, after 5 years, I contacted them, and the money was GONE. Turns out they changed the policy since I was employed, and rather making accounts just dormant after 5 years, you were summarily deleted from the system, and all of your retirement money was forfeited and returned to the state pension pool.
Next, I had a very short-term gig (actually indirectly for a different state government) and was again required to contribute mandatory retirement. In this case, it was only a few hundred dollars, but they didn't really notify me of all the details, so I wasn't even aware of this balance or where it went. A couple years later, I had moved, but they decided to send my money to some 3rd-party account management service, which charged a $15/month fee to hold my money. I wasn't aware of any of this (because I had moved and wasn't even really aware that I was owed benefits) until the 3rd-party company finally located me and sent me a statement that this account was being closed, since my balance had fallen to $12 (all the rest had gone to fees), and they could no longer maintain it... so they literally sent me a check for $12 after taking all the rest of my retirement money.
I'm currently fighting to get another small amount out of such a 3rd-party company because of other retirement benefits I wasn't even made aware of for a short-term contractual position nearly a decade ago.
Cumulatively, all of the money I've lost isn't that much compared to my main retirement savings, but it's preposterous that people all the time are making forced contributions to retirement accounts for short-term employment -- sometimes where they're not even told clearly that they even are being given those benefits other than on an unclear line on a paystub -- and then having to jump through hoops to track down or keep that money, and then deal with the hassle of moving it to other accounts.