Compensation and Benefits Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a compensation and benefits manager with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Compensation Manager Jobs

  • Sales Operations Manager - NewVoiceMedia - San Francisco, CA

    We are a leading Salesforce ISV partner with customers spanning six continents, NewVoiceMedia is relentlessly committed to driving innovation and

  • Sales Representative - InsideOut - Saint Petersburg, FL

    What does success look like? • Discover and develop new qualified business opportunities for our client's brands • Effectively manage a large

  • Moving Consultant - Olympia Moving & Storage - Austin, TX

    Prospects, establishes, and maintains relationships with customers to create opportunities for future and sustainable

See all Compensation Manager jobs

Top 3 Benefits Manager Jobs

  • Retirement Benefits Manager - Regal Beloit - United States

    Key Responsibilities include

  • Benefits Manager - ITT - United States

    This opportunity requires a strong-self-starter who is passionate and demonstrates a personal investment in the success of the team and the Company

  • Senior Account Manager- Employee Benefits - HUB International - Albuquerque, NM

    Establishes and maintain strong and productive professional relationships with decision makers for assigned HUB

See all Benefits Manager jobs

What Compensation and Benefits Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Compensation and benefits managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to compensate employees.

Duties of Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers typically do the following:

  • Coordinate and supervise the work activities of specialists and support staff
  • Set the organization's pay and benefits structure
  • Determine competitive wage rates to develop or modify compensation plans
  • Choose and manage outside partners, such as benefits vendors, insurance brokers, and investment managers
  • Oversee the distribution of pay and benefits information to the organization's employees
  • Ensure that pay and benefits plans comply with federal and state regulations
  • Prepare a program budget and keep operations within that budget

Although some managers administer both the compensation and benefits programs in an organization, other managers—particularly at large organizations—specialize and oversee one or the other. All managers, however, routinely meet with senior staff, managers of other human resources departments, and the financial officers of their organization. They provide expertise and make recommendations on compensation and benefits policies, programs, and plans.

Compensation and benefits managers may perform data analysis to determine the best pay and benefits plans for an organization. They may also monitor trends affecting pay and benefits and assess how their organization can improve practices or policies. Using a variety of analytical, database, and presentation software, managers draw conclusions, present their findings, and make recommendations to other managers in the organization.

Compensation managers are responsible for managing an organization's pay structure. They monitor market conditions and government regulations to ensure their organization's pay rates are current and competitive. They analyze data on wages and salaries, and they evaluate how their organization's pay structure compares with that of other companies. Compensation managers use this information to maintain or develop pay scales for an organization.

Some also design pay-for-performance plans, which include guidelines for bonuses and incentive pay. They also may help determine commission rates and other incentives for sales staff.

Benefits managers administer a company's employee benefits program, which may include retirement plans, leave policies, wellness programs, and insurance policies such as health, life, and disability. They select benefits vendors and manage enrollment, renewal, and delivery of benefits to the organization's employees. They frequently monitor government regulations and market trends to ensure that their programs are current, competitive, and legal.

Work Environment for Compensation and Benefits Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Compensation and benefits managers hold about 15,800 jobs. The largest employers of compensation and benefits managers are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises 24%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Government 10
Insurance carriers and related activities 9
Healthcare and social assistance 8

Compensation and benefits managers work in nearly every industry. Most of these managers work in offices.

Compensation and Benefits Manager Work Schedules

Most compensation and benefits managers work full time. About 1 in 3 work more than 40 hours per week. They may work more hours during peak times to meet deadlines, especially during the benefits enrollment period of their organization.

How to Become a Compensation or Benefits Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Compensation and Benefits Managers near you!

Compensation and benefits managers need a combination of education and related work experience.

Education for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Compensation and benefits managers typically need a bachelor's degree for most positions. Managers usually need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business administration, business management, finance, or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Work experience is essential for compensation and benefits managers. Managers often specialize in either compensation or benefits, depending on the type of experience they gain in previous jobs. Managers often start out as compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists. Work experience in other human resource fields, finance, or management is also helpful for getting a job as a compensation and benefits manager.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Although compensation and benefits managers are not legally required to be certified, certification can show expertise and credibility. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who are certified, and some positions may require certification.

Certification programs for management positions often require several years of related work experience to qualify for the certifying exam. Many professional associations for human resources workers offer certifications. Some associations, including the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and WorldatWork, offer certification programs that specialize in compensation and benefits. Others, including the HR Certification Institute, offer general human resources credentials.

Important Qualities for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Analytical skills. Compensation and benefits managers analyze data on salaries and the cost of benefits, and assess and devise programs that best fit an organization and its employees.

Business skills. Compensation and benefits managers administer a budget, build a case for their recommendations, and understand how compensation and benefits plans affect the company's finances.

Communication skills. Compensation and benefits managers direct staff, give presentations, and work with colleagues. For example, they may write about and present the advantages of a certain pay scale to management and address any concerns.

Decisionmaking skills. Compensation and benefits managers weigh the strengths and weaknesses of different pay structures and benefits plans and choose the best options for an organization.

Leadership skills. Compensation and benefits managers coordinate the work activities of their staff and properly administer compensation and benefits programs, ensuring work is completed accurately and on schedule.

Compensation and Benefits Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for compensation and benefits managers is $116,240. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $66,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $199,950.

The median annual wages for compensation and benefits managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Insurance carriers and related activities $126,940
Professional, scientific, and technical services 125,650
Management of companies and enterprises 125,190
Healthcare and social assistance 104,800
Government 95,850

Most compensation and benefits managers work full time. About 1 in 3 work more than 40 hours per week. They may work more hours during peak times to meet deadlines, especially during the benefits enrollment period of their organization.

Job Outlook for Compensation and Benefits Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of compensation and benefits managers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Organizations continue to focus on reducing compensation and benefits costs. Many firms have attempted to reduce costs by introducing various strategies, such as pay-for-performance and health and wellness programs. Organizations will need managers to evaluate and direct these compensation and benefits policies and plans.

Organizations will need the expertise of benefits managers when choosing, updating, and administering their benefits policies. Similarly, compensation managers will be needed to analyze compensation policies and design competitive compensation packages.

Many organizations increasingly contract out a portion of their compensation and benefits functions to human resources consulting firms in order to reduce costs and gain access to technical expertise. For example, to reduce administrative costs, organizations commonly use an outside vendor for processing payroll and insurance claims. These consulting firms can automate tasks and operate call centers to handle employee questions, thereby reducing the need for compensation and benefits managers.

Job Prospects for Compensation and Benefits Managers

Jobseekers can expect strong competition for available jobs because compensation and benefits manager positions typically offer high pay, and job openings often attract many applicants. Those who have a master's degree, certification, and extensive experience working with compensation or benefits plans should have the best job opportunities.

Employment projections data for Compensation and Benefits Managers, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Compensation and benefits managers 15,800 16,600 5 800


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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