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Working as a Payroll Associate

A payroll associate is an individual who is responsible for managing employee and staff payrolls, timesheets, as well as entering payroll and salary documentation. These individuals calculate employee federal, state, and social security taxes, as well as the employer's social security, unemployment, and workers compensation benefits. They also update payroll records and manage exemptions, insurance coverage, and retirement deductions.

Payroll associates typically work in an office environment during a typical workweek and often report to the accounting department of a company. They work to prepare reports by compiling summaries of employee earnings, taxes, deductions, vacation, and disability. The payroll associate must ensure that employees are paid on time and accurately and should possess excellent organizational, math, accounting, computer, and communication skills.

In addition to maintaining and processing payroll information, payroll clerks also must be adept at using computers and spreadsheets and should have a basic understanding of bank transfers and financials as well. Most payroll clerks may have an equivalent of a High School diploma or an advanced degree, but these may not be necessary provided the individual has comparable skills and knowledge for the job. Depending on the company or organization, many payroll clerks can expect to make up to $44,000 per year in the US.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a payroll associate. For example, did you know that they make an average of $19.17 an hour? That's $39,882 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 72,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Payroll Associate Do

There are certain skills that many payroll associates have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, math skills and organizational skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a payroll associate, we found that a lot of resumes listed 34.0% of payroll associates included payroll, while 10.0% of resumes included customer service, and 7.3% of resumes included adp. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the payroll associate job title. But what industry to start with? Most payroll associates actually find jobs in the retail and professional industries.

How To Become a Payroll Associate

If you're interested in becoming a payroll associate, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 44.7% of payroll associates have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.6% of payroll associates have master's degrees. Even though most payroll associates have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a payroll associate. When we researched the most common majors for a payroll associate, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on payroll associate resumes include high school diploma degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a payroll associate. In fact, many payroll associate jobs require experience in a role such as payroll administrator. Meanwhile, many payroll associates also have previous career experience in roles such as payroll specialist or administrative assistant.

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Average Salary$39,882
Job Growth Rate5%

Payroll Associate Career Paths

Top Careers Before Payroll Associate

Top Careers After Payroll Associate

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Payroll Associate

Payroll Associates in America make an average salary of $39,882 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $51,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $31,000 per year.
Average Salary
$39,882

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Pleasanton, CA
Salary Range40k - 57k$48k$48,295
Marlborough, MA
Salary Range37k - 57k$47k$46,791
New York, NY
Salary Range36k - 58k$46k$46,040
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range37k - 55k$46k$45,847
Chicago, IL
Salary Range36k - 55k$45k$44,868
Reading, PA
Salary Range34k - 54k$43k$42,997
$27k
$58k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Payroll Associate
Payroll Associate
Thomas Management LLC
Thomas Management LLC
01/22/2021
01/22/2021
$40,00001/22/2021
$40,000
Payroll Associate
Payroll Associate
Adecco Staffing
Adecco Staffing
01/21/2021
01/21/2021
$37,56601/21/2021
$37,566
Payroll Associate
Payroll Associate
Aerotek
Aerotek
01/18/2021
01/18/2021
$37,10701/18/2021
$37,107
Payroll Associate-Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research
Payroll Associate-Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research
Washington University of St. Louis
Washington University of St. Louis
01/14/2021
01/14/2021
$36,48101/14/2021
$36,481
Payroll Associate
Payroll Associate
Raytheon Technologies Corp
Raytheon Technologies Corp
12/24/2020
12/24/2020
$52,17512/24/2020
$52,175
See More Recent Salaries

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Payroll Associate Demographics

Gender

female

78.6 %

male

17.8 %

unknown

3.6 %

Ethnicity

White

64.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

19.0 %

Black or African American

8.7 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.4 %

Greek

4.9 %

Hindi

4.9 %
See More Demographics

Payroll Associate Education

Majors

Business
31.7 %
Finance
6.3 %

Degrees

Bachelors

44.7 %

Associate

23.7 %

High School Diploma

12.6 %

Top Colleges for Payroll Associates

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

10. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Payroll Associate

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 34.0% of payroll associates listed payroll on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Payroll Associate

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a payroll associate. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Payroll associates make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $54,723. Whereas in Massachusetts and Connecticut, they would average $46,801 and $46,625, respectively. While payroll associates would only make an average of $46,076 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Payroll Associate Jobs:
91
Highest 10% Earn:
$84,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Minnesota

Total Payroll Associate Jobs:
80
Highest 10% Earn:
$66,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Payroll Associate Jobs:
109
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
1.09
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Payroll Associate Employers

1. Robert Half International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$40,510
Payroll Associates Hired: 
24+
2. Washington University in St. Louis
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$37,602
Payroll Associates Hired: 
19+
3. Automatic Data Processing
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$41,134
Payroll Associates Hired: 
16+
4. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$40,709
Payroll Associates Hired: 
12+
5. Southwest Airlines
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$42,216
Payroll Associates Hired: 
11+
6. The Home Depot
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$114,522
Payroll Associates Hired: 
8+
Updated October 2, 2020