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Become An Employee Benefits Specialist

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Working As An Employee Benefits Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Employee Benefits Specialist Do

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate position descriptions to determine details such as a person’s 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 current, cost effective, and competitive
  • Use data and cost analyses to compare compensation and benefits plans
  • Evaluate position descriptions to determine a person’s classification and salary
  • Ensure that the company complies with federal and state laws
  • Collaborate with outside partners, such as benefits vendors, insurance brokers, and investment managers 
  • Design and prepare reports summarizing research and analysis
  • Present recommendations to other human resources 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 surveys to determine how their organization’s pay compares with that of other organizations in a particular industry and region. They often perform complex data or cost analyses to evaluate compensation policies. For example, they may research and analyze the cost of different pay-for-performance strategies, which offer rewards such as bonuses, paid leave, and 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, minimum wage, overtime, and equal pay 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 insurance. 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 current, legal, and competitive.

Benefits specialists also work closely with insurance brokers and benefits carriers and manage the enrollment, renewal, and delivery of benefits to the organization’s employees.

Job analysis specialists, also known as position classifiers, evaluate 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.

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How To Become An Employee Benefits Specialist

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

Education

Most employers require that compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists have a bachelor’s degree. Many specialists have a degree in human resources, business administration, finance, communication, or a related field. Some employers may accept previous work experience in lieu of a formal degree.

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 may 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, also may 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 from working in human resources.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is not required, it can demonstrate professional expertise. Some employers prefer to hire certified candidates, but many employers will have their employees become certified after they are already working. Certification programs for management positions often require several years of related work experience in order to qualify for the credential.

Many associations for human resources workers offer classes to enhance the skills 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 and the Society for Human Resource Management, offer general human resources credentials.

Advancement

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists may advance to a compensation and benefits manager or a human resources manager position. Specialists typically need several years of work experience to advance.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Many 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. Specialists must understand basic finance and accounting.

Communication skills. 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. Specialists must think critically when evaluating job positions, salary scales, promotion practices, and other compensation and benefits policies.

Detail oriented. Specialists must pay attention to detail, especially when ensuring that the organization is compliant with federal and state laws.

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Employee Benefits Specialist Career Paths

Employee Benefits Specialist
Human Resources Manager Director Of Human Resources
Senior Director Human Resources
13 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager Regional Human Resources Manager
Senior Human Resources Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager Business Development Manager Recruitment Manager
Talent Acquisition Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Recruitment Manager Human Resources Business Partner
Regional Human Resources Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Property Manager Administrative Manager
Human Resources Administration Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Senior Manager Senior Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Generalist Human Resources Consultant
Senior Human Resources Consultant
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Generalist Benefits Analyst
Benefits Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Generalist Compensation Analyst Compensation Manager
Compensation Director
13 Yearsyrs
Benefits Analyst Benefits Manager
Benefit Director
11 Yearsyrs
Benefits Analyst Benefits Consultant Benefits Manager
Compensation And Benefits Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Accountant And Office Manager
Account Human Resources Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Business Development Manager Recruitment Manager
Human Resources Lead
8 Yearsyrs
Benefits Manager Human Resources Business Partner
Head Of Human Resources
8 Yearsyrs
Benefits Consultant Human Resources Consultant
Senior Human Resources Generalist
8 Yearsyrs
Benefits Consultant Benefits Advisor Benefit Specialist
Employee Benefits Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Office Manager Of Human Resources Payroll Supervisor
Hris Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Consultant Senior Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Contractor
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Account Executive Regional Accounts Manager Client Manager
Client Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Analyst Senior Human Resources Specialist
Senior Human Resources Administrator
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Benefits Manager 3.9 years
Benefits Analyst 3.4 years
Benefit Specialist 2.9 years
Benefits Assistant 2.7 years
Benefits Counselor 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Employee Benefits Specialist
Internship 2.3%
Specialist 2.1%
Top Careers After Employee Benefits Specialist
Manager 2.7%

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Top Skills for An Employee Benefits Specialist

  1. Benefits Administration
  2. Long-Term Disability
  3. Cobra
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed all personnel records, benefits administration, and retirement programs.
  • Provided COBRA regulation guidance to potential and existing participants
  • Advanced knowledge of the Ultimate payroll system including developing Business Intelligence reports for various business needs.
  • Act as subject matter expert for medical, disability, life and retirement benefits providing support to department customer service representatives.
  • Assisted OPM in researching and resolving benefit questions including disability, life insurance, health insurance and beneficiary questions.

Employee Benefits Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

64.9%

Male

24.9%

Unknown

10.1%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.4%

Russian

10.5%

Carrier

10.5%

Italian

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%
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Employee Benefits Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.8%

University of Florida

7.4%

University of Washington

6.4%

Strayer University

6.4%

Wayne State University

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

Towson University

5.3%

University of New Orleans

4.3%

University of Cincinnati

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

University of Akron

4.3%

University of Louisville

4.3%

Indiana University Bloomington

4.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.3%

Kaplan University

4.3%

Troy University

3.2%

Central Piedmont Community College

3.2%

Wake Technical Community College

3.2%

Roosevelt University

3.2%

Montgomery College

3.2%
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Majors

Business

34.5%

Human Resources Management

13.0%

Psychology

5.9%

Marketing

5.5%

Health Care Administration

4.3%

Management

3.9%

Accounting

3.9%

Political Science

3.7%

Nursing

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Finance

2.8%

English

2.4%

Communication

2.4%

Education

2.2%

Medical Assisting Services

2.0%

Sociology

1.8%

Computer Science

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Insurance

1.6%

Economics

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.3%

Masters

19.4%

Other

17.9%

Associate

10.7%

Certificate

4.8%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.3%
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