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Become A Benefits Manager

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Working As A Benefits Manager

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Benefits Manager Do

Compensation managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to determine how much an organization pays its employees and how employees are paid. Benefits managers plan, direct, and coordinate retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits that an organization offers its employees.

Duties

Compensation and benefits managers typically do the following:

  • Set the organization’s pay structure and benefits offerings
  • Determine competitive wage rates and develop or modify compensation plans
  • Evaluate employee benefits policies to assess whether they are current, competitive, and legal
  • Choose and manage outside partners, such as benefits vendors, insurance brokers, and investment managers 
  • Coordinate and supervise the work activities of specialists and support staff
  • Oversee the distribution of pay and benefits information to the organization’s employees
  • Ensure that pay and benefits plans comply with federal and state regulations
  • Prepare a program budget and keep operations within budget

Although some managers administer both the compensation and benefits programs in an organization, other managers—particularly at large organizations—often specialize and oversee one or the other. All managers, however, routinely meet with senior staff, managers of other human resources departments, and the financial officers of their organization. They provide expertise and make recommendations on compensation and benefits policies, programs, and plans.

In addition to their administrative responsibilities, compensation and benefits managers also have technical and analytical duties. For example, they may perform complex data analysis to determine the best pay and benefits plans for an organization. They may also monitor trends affecting pay and benefits and assess how their organization can improve its practices or policies. Using a variety of analytical, database, and presentation software, managers draw conclusions, present their findings, and make recommendations to other managers in the organization.

Compensation managers are responsible for managing an organization’s pay structure. They monitor market conditions and government regulations to ensure their pay rates are current and competitive. They analyze data on wages and salaries, and they evaluate how their organization’s pay structure compares with that of other companies. Compensation managers use this information to maintain or develop pay scales for an organization.

Some also design pay-for-performance plans, which include guidelines for bonuses and incentive pay. They also may help determine commission rates and other incentives for sales staff.

Benefits managers administer a company’s employee benefits program, which includes retirement plans, leave policies, wellness programs, and insurance policies such as health, life, and disability. They select benefits vendors and manage enrollment, renewal, and delivery of benefits to the organization’s employees. They must frequently monitor government regulations and market trends to ensure that their programs are current, competitive, and legal.

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How To Become A Benefits Manager

Candidates need a combination of education and related work experience to become a compensation and benefits manager.

Education

Compensation and benefits managers need at least a bachelor’s degree for most positions, and some jobs require a master’s degree. Because not all undergraduate programs offer a degree in human resources, managers often have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, business management, finance, or a related field.

Some employers prefer to hire managers who have a master’s degree, particularly one with a concentration in human resources management, finance, or business administration (MBA).

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Related 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. For example, compensation and benefits 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. 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 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.  

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Compensation and benefits managers must analyze data on salaries and the cost of benefits, and assess and devise programs that best fit an organization and its employees.

Business acumen. Compensation and benefits managers must manage 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 must direct staff, give presentations, and work with colleagues. For example, they may present the advantages of a certain pay scale to management and address any concerns.

Decisionmaking skills. Compensation and benefits managers must 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 must coordinate the work activities of their staff and properly administer compensation and benefits programs, ensuring work is completed accurately and on schedule.

Writing skills. Compensation and benefits managers must prepare clearly written informational materials on compensation and benefits plans for an organization’s employees. They must also clearly convey recommendations in written reports.

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Benefits Manager Career Paths

Benefits Manager
Senior Manager
Accounting Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Manager Senior Operations Manager
Assistant Vice President Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Business Office Manager Senior Accountant
Audit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Benefit Director
11 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Client Services Manager Client Relationship Manager
Client Relations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Compensation And Benefits Manager
Compensation Director
13 Yearsyrs
Compensation And Benefits Manager Human Resources Business Partner
Controller, Operations, And Human Resources Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager Senior Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Payroll Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Assistant Vice President
Executive Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Consultant Human Resources Business Partner
Human Resources Lead
8 Yearsyrs
Payroll Manager Payroll Administrator
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Contractor Office Manager Of Human Resources
Office And Operations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Management Consultant
Program/Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Human Resources Generalist
Recruitment Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Consultant Human Resources Manager
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Human Resources Generalist Senior Recruiter
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Food Service Director
Resource Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Human Resources Generalist Human Resources Supervisor
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Benefit Director 4.3 years
Benefits Manager 4.0 years
Benefits Analyst 3.3 years
Benefit Specialist 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Benefits Manager
Manager 2.8%
Consultant 2.1%
Supervisor 2.0%
Top Careers After Benefits Manager
Consultant 3.2%
Director 3.1%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as a Benefits Manager?

Benefits Manager Demographics

Gender

Female

74.6%

Male

24.2%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

63.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.8%

German

4.9%

French

4.9%

Carrier

4.9%

Italian

4.9%

Gujarati

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Cantonese

2.4%

Russian

1.2%

Portuguese

1.2%

Welsh

1.2%

Chinese

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Dakota

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Polish

1.2%

Korean

1.2%
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Benefits Manager Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.6%

Villanova University

8.1%

Michigan State University

5.4%

Arizona State University

5.4%

Temple University

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Strayer University

5.0%

University of Iowa

4.1%

New York University

3.6%

Pace University - New York

3.6%

Cornell University

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

Syracuse University

3.2%

Ashford University

3.2%

University of Maryland - University College

3.2%

West Virginia University

3.2%

American InterContinental University

3.2%

University of Louisville

3.2%

Northeastern University

3.2%

University of Georgia

3.2%
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Majors

Business

35.8%

Human Resources Management

19.5%

Accounting

7.6%

Management

5.1%

Psychology

4.3%

Finance

4.1%

Health Care Administration

2.8%

Communication

2.7%

Education

2.1%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Marketing

1.7%

Political Science

1.6%

Sociology

1.6%

Economics

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.4%

Law

1.4%

Pharmacy

1.3%

English

1.3%

Computer Science

1.2%

Nursing

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.1%

Masters

24.3%

Other

15.8%

Associate

8.1%

Certificate

5.9%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.6%
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Top Skills for A Benefits Manager

  1. Benefits Administration
  2. Payroll
  3. Open Enrollment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide end-to-end benefits administration support specific to client needs, to include ongoing benefits administration as well as one-time benefit projects.
  • Prepare and enter commissions, overtime payments and electronic timekeeping for payroll processing.
  • Developed all benefit program communication for open enrollment for full self-insured benefit structure.
  • Saved $500K annually by establishing in-house integrated disability process incorporating short- and long-term disability and Worker's Compensation.
  • Executed a new and improved COBRA administration process designed for efficiency and timely processing.

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