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Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists salary & career outlook

Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists perform a variety of important tasks in large enterprise organizations. For starters, they evaluate candidates for certain jobs to determine a suitable salary range, but they also ensure that new hires and existing employees remain in compliance with state and federal labor laws. In addition, these specialists provide counsel to managers and employees about employment regulations, the details of company benefit plans and company-wide compensation practices.

More advanced professionals in the compensation and benefits field help develop the sets of standards by which candidates are evaluated, or monitor big-picture movements within their chosen industry. They often either possess or acquire extensive experience in human resources, recruitment, training, labor relations and state and federal employment requirements, and they may be called upon to write job description documents to more precisely recruit the right candidate for the job.

Employees in these positions typically have a blend of workforce experience and academic education. Most people working in this field have earned a bachelor's degree, and managerial candidates can position themselves for more desirable jobs by earning master's degrees in human resources, management or another related field.

Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialist salary

There were around 91,700 compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists employed in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual salary in the field was reported as $63,310 nationally in 2013, which works out to wages of $30.44 per hour. The top 10 percent of compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists earned $94,080 or more during the same period, and the bottom 10 percent took home up to $38,400 for the year.

Here's a short list of industries that offered particularly high salary ranges for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists in 2013:

  • Pipeline transportation of natural gas: $89,210 average annual salary
  • Cut and sew apparel manufacturing: $84,550 average annual salary
  • Software publishers: $84,120 average annual salary
  • Natural gas distribution: $84,110 average annual salary
  • General merchandise stores: $83,800 average annual salary

Geographical location also factors into salary expectations. These regions offered the top average annual salaries for compensation, benefits and job analyst specialists in 2013, according to BLS data:

  • Washington, D.C.: $75,250 average annual salary
  • Massachusetts: $73,380 average annual salary
  • New Jersey: $73,240 average annual salary
  • Washington: $70,040 average annual salary
  • Alaska: $69,180 average annual salary

However, the amount that you can expect to pay for everyday expenses such as transportation, housing and food tends to have a hidden influence on regional salary value, and the cost of living where you are can be just as important as how much you make. Here are some municipal areas that ranked near the top on the Center for Community and Economic Research's September 2014 Cost of Living Index but also reported comfortable 2013 mean annual salary figures to the BLS:

  • Troy, Michigan: $63,260 mean annual salary; state ranked 5th in affordability
  • Omaha, Nebraska: $66,040 mean annual salary; state ranked 10th in affordability
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $67,330 mean annual salary; state ranked 18th in affordability

Career outlook for compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists

Although employment growth is forecast to be fairly modest in this field, an overall increase in employment is expected between 2012 and 2022. The BLS projects growth of about 6 percent, leading to around 5,300 new jobs nationwide in the field over the course of that decade.

Because many firms choose to contract out their compensation, benefits and job analysis tasks to HR consulting firms as a way to control costs, growth in the field should be most robust among medium- to large-sized consulting houses. Candidates with several years of experience in the field are expected to have the best employment prospects, particularly for high-value positions.

Certain states, especially in the Western U.S., are expected to have particularly high growth rates for the job, according to Projections Central. These include:

  • Colorado: 19% projected job growth
  • Texas: 17.2% projected job growth
  • Arizona: 16% projected job growth
  • Utah: 15.8% projected job growth
  • Georgia: 15% projected job growth

Sound appealing? Check out schools near you for degree programs in human resources and similar topics that can help you get started on a career as a compensation and benefits specialist.

Sources:

  1. Cost of Living Data Series: Third Quarter 2014, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri Department of Economic Development,
    http://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/index.stm
  2. Long Term Occupational Projections for Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists, Projections Central,
    http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  3. Occupational Employment and Wages: Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014,
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131141.htm
  4. Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,
    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/compensation-benefits-and-job-analysis-specialists.htm