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Career Story: Salary And Benefits Specialist

Salary And Benefits Specialist

Job Title: Manager, Executive Compensation

Type of Company: I work for a Fortune 500 retailing company.

Education: BS, Accounting, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

Previous Experience: I was an auditor at a Big Four accounting firm.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to work with the Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors to design and implement executive compensation programs and ensure compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the IRS and other government agencies.

Much of my time is spent gathering information about current competitive practice in executive compensation. This information is used to present recommendations to the Compensation Committee. Once a program is designed or changed, one of my responsibilities is to communicate the changes to the employees who will be affected by it. For example, if we discover that our competition offers financial planning as a benefit to executives, I will work to get the Compensation Committee to do the same for our own, and I will also set up the specifics of the program and communicate them to employees.

Companies whose stock is publicly traded must provide an annual disclosure of executive compensation practices and amounts - typically in an annual proxy statement. One of my responsibilities is the preparation of this disclosure document. This entails coordinating review internally, as well as with outside legal counsel and external compensation consultants. Because the rules that govern this disclosure are complex and subject to change, much of my time is spent learning and understanding the rules.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with the most senior leaders within the company and being part of many major decisions. I also enjoy the continuous learning that is required by the job.

The worst part is that there is a lot of pressure working with executives and this can lead to stress and long hours.

Job Tips: Keep up with current events: read papers such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Times. A background in employment and securities law is also very helpful. Analytical skills, an ability to use spreadsheets and databases and an understanding of finance and accounting will help with a career in executive compensation.

Additional Thoughts: While this job falls within the bounds of Human Resources, most people who do it have a legal or accounting background.

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