Compensation Analyst: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a compensation analyst. Learn about the education requirements, job duties, employment outlook and average salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Human Resource Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Compensation Analyst?

Compensation analysts research comparable salaries and benefits for employers. They are responsible for designing an organization's pay structure and ensuring that it complies with state and federal regulations. They also write job descriptions and classifications in accordance with local and federal laws. Not only do compensation analysts work to establish employees' wages upon hiring, they continually review and update pay packages to make sure they are fair, competitive and within the company's financial capacity. It is helpful for analysts to be detail-oriented and able to communicate effectively. The following chart provides an overview of the job requirements and compensation in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business administration, finance, human resources, law
Key Responsibilities Research fair employee compensation, classify jobs, technical reporting
Certification Optional Certified Compensation Professional certification available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% increase for all compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists*
Mean Salary (2015) $65,100 for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Compensation Analyst?

A competitive salary helps promote employee retention and ensures fair compensation. Companies must find ways to make sure that employees receive competitive benefits and salary scales. Compensation analysts work on behalf of these companies to research, compare and set the salary for each employee. In this position, you can expect to assist a compensation manager with researching comparable salaries, classifying jobs and establishing exempt or non-exempt status for various positions.

You may also compile data, such as job descriptions, to assist with developing technical reports. You should possess knowledge of federal and state labor laws, general human resources principles and business administration concepts. Good customer service skills are an asset for this type of position.

What Education or Certification Will I Need?

Most employers require a bachelor's degree for entry into the field. Many universities do not offer degrees in compensation until the graduate level. You can pursue an undergraduate degree in business administration, finance or law supplemented by courses in human resources management. If you choose to pursue a master's degree, you can expect to take courses in benefits administration, retirement plans, compensation and bonuses and incentives. You can also elect to pursue a graduate certificate.

The WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals offers the Certified Compensation Professional certificate. The organization offers courses in job analysis, base and variable pay, pricing and human resources accounting. Once you complete training, you can take the required examinations. However, certification in the field is not required.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists earned an average salary of $65,100 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). It also reports a slightly slower than average job outlook of 4% job growth between 2014 and 2024 for these professionals. Most compensation analysts earned between $46,285 and $81,957 in 2017, according to PayScale.com. Your salary will vary depending on the employer, location and position.

What Are Some Related Alternative Career Options?

If you are interested in a more managerial position, you could seek a job as a compensation and benefits manager, which would involve many of the same responsibilities in addition to managing a team of analysts. You may also want to explore a job as a financial manager, which involves managing all of the finances in a company or organization. These individuals keep track of investments, financial reports and budgets to make sure the company is in good financial health.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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