3 minute read

Compensation and Benefits Analyst Job Description, Career as a Compensation and Benefits Analyst, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$47,490 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

To attract and keep competent employees, employers must pay salaries and provide benefits that are competitive and equitable. Compensation and benefits analysts evaluate existing and proposed jobs and classify them according to their levels of responsibility and importance to the employer. They research what comparable jobs pay and what benefits are given elsewhere and develop appropriate salary and benefit structures.

Compensation and benefits analysts work for federal, state, and local governments; school systems and universities; and medium and large businesses. Their role is particularly important in civil service systems, where they must develop compensation structures for entire government bodies, and in large firms, where they must develop salary structures and benefit plans that remain consistent throughout the entire corporation. Compensation and benefits analysts usually work in personnel departments.

A compensation and benefits analyst's job is sensitive and exacting. Compensation and benefits analysts must be familiar with laws and regulations concerning affirmative action, fair labor standards, and veterans' preference. They must know how salaries and benefits in other firms compare with the salaries and benefits of their firm or agency. They must be sure that the salaries and benefits within their firm provide incentives for hard work and long-term commitment.

Compensation and benefits analysis has become even more crucial with expanded interpretations of equal pay laws. The new concept of "comparable worth," which aims to establish the comparability (for salary purposes) of job types and job titles across industries and employers, has made compensation and benefits analysis increasingly sophisticated. Compensation and benefits analysts must have strong analytical and verbal skills as well as an understanding of how organizations function.

Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor's degree is almost always required for entry into the field of compensation and benefits analysis, although some employers may be willing to substitute professional experience for education. Employers increasingly look for additional formal education—a master's or a doctoral degree—for senior positions in compensation work. For entry-level positions there is no specific major required. However, course work in business or public or personnel administration provides good preparation for the field.

Getting the Job

Civil service systems and large companies in private industry most often hire compensation specialists. Classified advertisements in newspapers, on the Internet, and in professional journals are good sources of job leads for private sector jobs. Jobs with government agencies usually require passing a civil service exam; interested individuals should contact a federal or local branch of the Civil Service Commission for information about the exams and job openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

From the entry-level position of compensation and benefits analyst, it is possible to advance to the job of compensation manager—with responsibilities for the functioning of an office or division—or to that of personnel director of an agency or firm. Many compensation analysts take an exam on the practice and theory of compensation, administered by the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals. Passing the exam earns the practitioner a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation, which can be useful for professional advancement. Compensation analysts can also gain accreditation in the general field of personnel.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation and benefits analysts held ninety-nine thousand jobs in the United States in 2004. Employment of compensation and benefits analysts was expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The increasing complexity of laws and regulations covering personnel and pay practices has resulted in the expansion of in-house personnel staff with expertise in compensation, especially in large companies. Unlike other personnel positions that may be eliminated during recessionary periods, compensation analysts are considered particularly important at such times so that salaries can be adjusted and jobs can be reclassified.

Working Conditions

Compensation and benefits analysts generally work with large numbers of employees. They work a thirty-five- or forty-hour week. Occasional overtime may be required.

Where to Go for More Information

Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-3440

14040 N. Northsight Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480) 951-9191

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings vary depending on education and experience and on the size and location of the employing company. The median annual salary for compensation and benefits analysts in 2004 was $47,490, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance, and pension plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHuman Resources