How to Become a Compensation or Benefits Manager
Compensation and benefits managers often start out as compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists.
Compensation and benefits managers need a combination of education and related work experience.
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
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
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.
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.