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What Compensation and Benefits Managers Do

Compensation managers plan, direct, and coordinate how and how much an organization pays its employees. Benefits managers do the same for retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits an organization offers its employees.


Compensation and benefits managers typically do the following:

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. 

In addition to their administrative responsibilities, compensation and benefits managers also have several technical and analytical duties. For example, they may do complex data analysis to determine the best pay and benefits plans for an organization. They also must 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 frequently identify and present their findings 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 may collect and analyze data on wages and salaries, and they evaluate how their organization’s pay structure compares with other companies. Compensation managers then 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 may help to determine commission rates and other incentives for sales staff.

Benefits managers administer a company’s employee benefits program, which includes retirement plans and insurance policies such as health, life, and disability. They work closely with benefits vendors and manage the enrollment, renewal, and distribution processes for an organization’s employees. They must frequently monitor government regulations and the costs of other plans to ensure that their programs are current and competitive.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition