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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
  • Finance
  • 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

Compensation and Benefits Managers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be compensation and benefits managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Reading Comprehension44
Active Listening44.12
Speaking44
Judgment and Decision Making3.884
Critical Thinking3.884

Compensation and Benefits Managers Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be compensation and benefits managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension44
Written Comprehension44
Oral Expression44
Written Expression44
Speech Recognition3.753.38

Compensation and Benefits Managers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be compensation and benefits managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Personnel and Human Resources4.435.86
Administration and Management4.15
English Language3.624.14
Mathematics3.525.05
Customer and Personal Service3.524.71

Compensation and Benefits Managers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being compensation and benefits managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Getting Information4.525.19
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.485.86
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.384.95
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.335.48
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards4.334.9

Compensation and Benefits Managers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being compensation and benefits managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Integrity4.86
Attention to Detail4.71
Analytical Thinking4.57
Dependability4.38
Initiative4.14
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Compensation and Benefits Managers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.