Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate job positions to determine details such as classification and salary.

Duties

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists typically do the following:

  • Research compensation and benefits policies and plans to ensure the organization’s offerings are up-to-date, cost effective, and competitive
  • Monitor important compensation and benefits trends
  • Compare benefits plans, job classifications, or salaries through data and cost analyses
  • Prepare job descriptions, salary scales, and occupational classifications
  • Evaluate job positions to determine classification and salary
  • Ensure company compliance by adhering to federal and state laws
  • Collaborate with outside partners such as benefits vendors and investment brokers 
  • Design and prepare reports summarizing the research and analysis
  • Present recommendations to compensation, benefits, human resources, or other managers

Some specialists perform tasks within all areas of compensation, benefits, and job analysis. Others specialize in a specific area.

Compensation specialists assess the organization’s pay structure. They research compensation trends and review compensation surveys to see how their organization’s pay compares with that in other organizations. To evaluate compensation policies, they often perform complex data or cost analyses. For example, they may research and analyze the cost of different pay-for-performance strategies, which offer rewards such as bonuses, paid leave, or other incentives.

Compensation specialists also must ensure that the organization’s pay practices comply with federal and state laws and regulations, such as workers’ compensation or minimum wage laws.

Benefits specialists administer the organization’s benefits programs, which include retirement plans, leave policies, wellness programs, and insurance policies, such as health, life, and disability. They research and analyze benefits plans, policies, and programs, and make recommendations based on their analysis. They must frequently monitor government regulations, legislation, and benefits trends to ensure that their programs are legal, current, and competitive.

Benefits specialists also work closely with insurance brokers and benefits carriers and manage the enrollment, renewal, and distribution processes for an organization’s employees.

Job analysis specialists, also known asposition classifiers, evaluate job positions by writing or assigning job descriptions, determining position classifications, and preparing salary scales. When an organization introduces a new job or reviews existing jobs, specialists must research and make recommendations to managers on the status, description, classification, and salary of those jobs.

Work Environment

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists held about 91,700 jobs in 2012 and worked in nearly every industry. Many specialists work for large firms, such as those found in the finance and insurance and healthcare industries. Many also work for government or educational institutions.

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists typically work in offices.

Work Schedules

Most compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists work full time during regular business hours.

Education and Training

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists need a bachelor’s degree, and some specialists need related work experience.

Education

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists need a bachelor’s degree. Many have a degree in human resources, business administration, finance, or a related field. Not all colleges and universities offer an undergraduate degree in human resources, but many offer courses in human resources management, compensation analysis, and benefits administration.

Students with a background in other disciplines, such as psychology or sociology, would also benefit from taking courses in business, management, finance, and accounting.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

For many jobs, compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists must have previous work experience. Employers commonly require that the previous experience includes performing compensation analysis, benefits administration, or general human resources work. Experience in related fields such as finance, insurance, or business administration can also be beneficial.

Jobseekers without a degree in human resources must have relevant work experience. Some workers may gain this experience through internships. However, most gain experience working in human resources.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many professional associations for human resources professionals offer classes to enhance the skills and credibility of their members. 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.

Although not required, certification can show professional expertise and credibility. In fact, many employers prefer to hire certified candidates, and some positions may require certification. Certification programs for management positions often require several years of related work experience to qualify for the credential.

Advancement

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists may advance to compensation and benefits manager or human resources manager positions. Workers typically need several years of experience to advance.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Many compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists perform data or cost analyses to form logical conclusions. For example, they may analyze the cost of choosing a particular salary scale for a class of workers.

Business acumen. Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists must understand basic finance and accounting.

Communication skills. Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists often work with employees throughout their organization to provide information on compensation and benefits. They may give presentations or advise managers or employees about compensation policies or benefit plans.

Critical-thinking skills. Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists must think critically when evaluating job positions, salary scales, promotion practices, and other compensation and benefits policies.

Detail oriented. Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists must pay attention to detail, especially when ensuring that the organization is compliant with federal and state laws.

Pay

The median annual wage for compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists was $59,090 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,570, and the top 10 percent earned more than $92,520. 

Most compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists work full time during regular business hours.

Job Outlook

Employment of compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. As compensation and benefits plans become increasingly complex and costly, companies will need specialists to analyze and administer these plans and programs.

Due to healthcare reform and rising healthcare costs, organizations will need benefits specialists to analyze, choose, and update their benefits policies. Employee wellness programs are also becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce healthcare costs. Organizations will need benefits specialists to design, analyze, or administer these programs.

To attract and keep highly qualified workers, organizations offer competitive compensation packages. To allocate their limited compensation funds effectively, many organizations are using strategies such as pay-for-performance plans, which may include bonuses, paid leave, or other incentives as part of the compensation package. Organizations will need specialists to analyze these compensation policies and plans and ensure they are both competitive and cost effective.

However, employment growth will likely be tempered as companies increasingly outsource a portion of their compensation and benefits functions to human resources consulting firms to reduce costs and gain access to technical expertise. For example, to reduce administrative costs, organizations commonly use an outside vendor for processing payroll and insurance claims. These consulting firms are able to automate tasks and operate overseas call centers, reducing the need for specialists.

Job Prospects

Job prospects should be best for those with several years of experience performing compensation analysis, benefits administration, or related human resources work.

For More Information

For more information about compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists, including certification, visit

International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

WorldatWork

For information about human resources careers, visit

Society for Human Resource Management

For more information about human resources certifications, visit

HR Certification Institute

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2014–2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh.

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