Read this article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/ It changed my way of thinking about pensions. I now think of everything as 'future planning' as I may wish to retire long before I can access my pension.
My situation was not dissimilar to yours ten years ago. I base my response to you on what I should have done, not what I did.
So were I in your shoes, I'd think along these lines:
1) Work out what percentage of gross income to save - say 15%.
2) Contribute the minimum necessary to get employer matching - say, 5%.
3) Put the remaining amount (here, 10%) into an Investment NISA. Do not use this money for anything other than 'future planning'.
4) Both would be invested in long-term growth potential instruments ie. equity-heavy.
(This takes advantage of the 'free money' from an employer and the tax-deferred protection of a pension as well as the future tax-free nature of NISAs. The potential downside is the accessibility of NISAs versus the pensions locked-away-till 55 status.)
Learn to sacrifice your salary for 'good behaviour' items early on in life and it'll be a lesson well learnt. Save heavy when you are young too as you can then take your foot off when you enter the expensive part of your life (mortgage, young kids, marriage) and let compounding do most of the work for you.
I've written around this subject on my website should you want to read it: http://www.sspf.co.uk/blog/008/.
Best of luck and well done for being financially mature enough to think of these things. If only all 24 year olds did!