Compensation and benefits managers are responsible for planning, directing, and/or coordinating an organization's pay system and employee benefits programs. In some organizations, usually larger ones, the job functions are split into separate positions:
- Compensation Manager - manages the compensation systems
- Employee Benefits Manager - manages benefits activities
- Compensation Specialists - have expertise in different areas such as pay scales, salary structures and performance evaluation systems
Compensation and Benefits Schools
The standard education requirement for compensation and benefits managers is a bachelor's degree. Although it is possible to get a job as a compensation and benefits manager without a college degree, almost all managers hold at least a bachelor's degree and many have master's or doctoral degrees. Those who seek top management positions should strive for a master's degree. The most common majors of focus include:
- Human resources
- Business administration
- Business management
- Labor relations
College coursework useful for this field includes courses in business law and administration, finance, economics, computer science, and accounting. A background in law is also desirable, as managers to an increasing extent are required to interpret the growing number of laws and regulations governing employee benefits and salaries.
Compensation and Benefits Certifications
Certification is generally not required for compensation and benefits manager positions; however, some employers prefer it. It is safe to say that certification can only enhance career opportunities as well as professional growth. There are many professional certifications available to compensation and benefits managers and specialists. Some of the more prominent ones are the following:
- The World at Work Society of Certified Professionals awards a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation to candidates who successfully take and pass an exam on the practice and theory of compensation. This same organization also confers the Certified Benefits Professional (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP), and Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP) certifications to qualified candidates.
- The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans confers a certification with three distinct areas of specialization: group benefits, retirement, and compensation. The Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBP) designation is awarded in one or more of the specialty tracks to individuals who complete a series of college-level courses and pass qualifying exams.
- The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Certification Institute offers certification in the learning and performance field which addresses nine areas of expertise. In order to earn this certification, individuals must possess a certain amount of work experience and also pass a knowledge-based exam.
- The Society for Human Resource Management offers two certifications: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). These certifications require both work experience and a passing score on a comprehensive exam.
- International Public Management Association for Human Resources offers two certifications. They are the IPMA-Certified Professional (IPMA-CP) and the IPMA-Certified Specialist (IPMA-CS) certifications.
Resources for Compensation and Benefits Managers
- Society for Human Resource Management
- The International Public Management Association for Human Resources
- International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists
- Employee Benefits and Compensation
- International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
- World at Work
- Information on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Labor and Employment Relations Association