Compensation and Benefits Managers: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a compensation and benefits manager. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook, and 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 and Benefits Manager?

As a compensation or benefits manager, you will perform vital tasks such as selecting and overseeing the benefits and salaries offered to a company's employees. A compensation and benefits manager usually must determine an organization's pay structure and adjust compensation plans as needed. You will also ensure that the benefits offered are competitive and comply with government regulations. Compensation and benefits managers also consider the organization's budget as they determine compensation and benefits. These professionals typically oversee and coordinate the work of other staff members. The following chart gives you an overview about what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Human resource management, business administration
Key Responsibilities Implement & administer benefits, design programs, institute pay scale
Certification Optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $111,430*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of Compensation and Benefits Managers?

A benefits manager oversees the implementation and administration of a company's benefits program. In this job, you will work with company executives to design programs that meet the needs of a diverse workforce. You also will work with employees to ensure they are receiving all the benefits promised in their contracts, such as 401(k) plans, pensions and disability, life and health insurance policies. You will be responsible for maintaining the cost-effectiveness of these programs while providing quality options.

As a compensation manager, you will also institute a company's pay scale after an analysis of the pay offered by competitors. You will also design bonus and performance reward programs to motivate workers. Other duties may include setting commission rates for sales departments and determining the details of executive packages.

What Education Is Required?

Earning a bachelor's degree in human resource management, human resources or business administration is recommended by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and most professionals in these positions have completed this level of education ( Courses you may enroll in while pursuing a human resources bachelor's degree include employment law, conflict management, human behavior, compensation studies and ethics. In a business administration degree program, you might take classes in finance, accounting and management. You can complete one of these degree programs in four years, and online courses are often available.

Are Additional Certifications Available?

The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification to further career advancement and expand business knowledge ( To qualify for this designation, you must have two years of relevant professional experience in addition to earning a bachelor's degree in a related field. You must also pass a 225-question exam focusing on topics created by current human resources managers.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary?

According to the BLS, the demand for compensation and benefit managers is expected to increase by six percent between 2014 and 2024. Professionals experienced in designing creative and cost-effective benefits and rewards programs will find more opportunities for employment. The BLS estimates that in May 2015, the median salary for these positions was $111,430.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A handful of related careers that require a bachelor's degree include human resources specialists, training and development specialists and financial managers. Human resources specialists are responsible for hiring and training new employees. They may also help recruit potential candidates. Training and development specialists create and deliver various training sessions and materials for an organization's employees. They work to improve the skills of the employees. Financial managers oversee the financial activities of an organization. They may manage investments and monitor financial reports.

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