Do you want to become a compensation and benefits manager?

With today’s mobile job market, businesses have prioritized compensation and benefits more than ever before. According to PayScale, 66% of organizations consider employee retention to be a major concern in 2019, a rise from 2018’s result of 59%. Meanwhile, the second most common reason employees have voluntarily left organizations is inadequate compensation, at 65% of those polled. It is evident that businesses should prioritize benefits and compensation to retain high-performing employees. If you’re interested in keeping employees happy and improving retention rates, you might pursue a career as a compensation and benefits manager.

Find out more about the responsibilities, salary potential, and employment outlook of compensation and benefits managers, and learn how an online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham can help you qualify for this career path.

Compensation and benefits specialist job description

Individuals in this career perform a number of important duties in a business’s payroll functions. They are likely to collaborate with several employees, managers, and executives on a daily basis to provide insight and make recommendations on different payment and benefits plans. In addition, they work directly with their team members to ensure the information they share with the organization is accurate and aligned.

What do compensation and benefits managers do? Here is just a handful of the many responsibilities assigned to these professionals, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Setting the business’s overall pay and benefits structure and budget
  • Overseeing the distribution of information related to benefits and pay to employees
  • Working with employees and managers to modify compensation and benefits packages as needed
  • Maintaining compliance with federal and state regulations regarding payroll and benefits plans
  • Selecting benefits vendors, investment managers, insurance brokers, and other external partners
  • Making sure programs stay within the target budget

Because compensation and benefits managers are experts in pay and benefits within the organization, they are typically the ones responsible for determining the right pay and benefits plans. To do so, they might analyze data that comes directly from the business and examine market trends impacting the industry.

Many HR professionals perform both duties, supervising and administering the compensation and benefits programs. Others, particularly those at large organizations, work in just one of these subsets. Regardless, it’s important that individuals pursuing this profession gain expertise in both areas, as they typically work in tandem with one another.

Team of employees gathered to discuss benefits

Individuals in compensation make sure their organizations offer pay rates that are competitive with companies of a similar size and industry. They may also consider the average salaries of different professionals in the region, as geographic location has a significant impact on pay scales. Compensation professionals may also denote the business’s bonus and incentive pay plans, as well as commission rates for sales teams.

An employee benefits specialist will orchestrate and execute the employee benefits program. Common workplace perks may include paid time off, wellness programs, insurance policies, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, childcare, and travel assistance.

Personal and professional traits of a benefits and compensation specialist

Individuals who are considering a career path as a compensation and benefits manager might be curious about different characteristics that lead to success in this profession. Generally, these professionals should be passionate about helping people, as a significant chunk of their job duties involve assisting employees and managers. In addition, they should be organized when handling a lot of data and information. Finally, they should be approachable and welcoming to employees and members of the benefits and compensation team.

Salary potential

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for compensation and benefits managers was $121,010 in May 2018. The top 10% of earners in this profession earned over $205,470.

The industry in which compensation and benefits managers work is a major salary determinant. Here is a breakdown of the median annual wages of these professionals in different industries, as reported in May 2018:

  • Insurance careers: $130,420
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $129,000
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services: $125,580
  • Health care and social assistance: $111,100
  • Government: $102,470

Job outlook

Organizations of all sizes are striving to reduce benefits and compensation costs. To do so, they have a choice of reducing pay and benefits, thereby creating a disengaged workforce, or taking on a strategic mindset to benefits and compensation programs. As companies seek ways to retain hardworking employees, they have a rising need for compensation and benefits managers to analyze, evaluate, and execute effective compensation and benefits plans. The number of professionals in this occupation is expected to grow 5% from 2016 to 2026, as per the BLS.

Become an asset to the workforce with a BS from UAB

To qualify for work in this field, compensation and benefits managers are typically required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in HR management, business administration, or a related discipline. The online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business can offer you the expertise and insight you’ll need in this analytical career. When you pursue a 100% online degree, you have the opportunity to learn all about the modern workforce’s challenges and trends at a flexible schedule that works around your busy life. You can participate in UAB’s internship component, which can provide you with the real-world experience you’ll need to build connections and contextualize the insight gained in your courses. Contact an enrollment advisor from UAB to learn how you can pursue a career as a compensation and benefits manager with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management.


Recommended Reading:

Study Human Resource Management the Right Way

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Online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management

What Does a Compensation Manager Do? by The Balance Careers

The Most Desirable Employee Benefits by the Harvard Business Review

2019 Compensation: Best Practices by PayScale

Compensation or Benefits Manager? by Truity

Compensation and Benefits Managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics