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Compensation Analyst Career Guide

Compensation analysts take on the important task of organizing and overseeing a company’s pay structure. They are familiar with the industry’s salaries, benefits, and remunerations policies in order to advise the senior financial staff on how to compensate their employees. Do you like working with numbers and have a fairly analytical mindset? Can you work both independently and with others? Are you well-organized and have good time management? If that’s the case, becoming a compensation analyst may provide you with a meaningful career. 

Sample job description

An ideal candidate for our current compensation analyst position has the proper knowledge of human resource laws and qualitative research methods that will ultimately help them decide the reasonable salaries and benefits to give to each employee. You will be responsible for keeping policies fair and making sure employees and supervisors are both pleased with the numbers and reports you’ve come up with.  You need to be able to communicate professionally and effectively to make sure the staff can understand and properly implement the advice you give on several HR matters. It is also important for a compensation analyst to be able to analyze and interpret the current job market to make the correct conclusions in their reports. Above all, we are looking for someone who is passionate about their work and is willing to spend the time to understand the different needs of the workplace and implement their knowledge into the reports they produce for our company.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Write up accurate job descriptions for each position in the company
  • Survey employees and managers to gather information about their job, including responsibilities, skills, and satisfaction rates
  • Prepares and updates job classifications and salary scales
  • Produce and present job and compensation analysis reports to upper staff
  • Conduct research and gather data on compensation surveys and market trends
  • Handle raises and salary structure for employees
  • Examine compensation package trends to ensure industry competitiveness and high employee retention
  • Build and maintain several reports to support the decisions made pertaining to salary and benefits in the company
  • Advise management on human resources procedures, benefits and compensation policies, and state and federal employment regulations

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources or business management
  • 1-2 years of experience working in a related field
  • SHRM-CP preferred

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to perform and conduct quantitative and qualitative research 
  • Good organizational and time management skills
  • Proficient with a variety of software, including Microsoft Office programs
  • Knowledgeable about human resource laws, policies, and practices 
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Create effective compensation surveys
  • Predict job market trends

Preferred qualifications

  • Advanced typing skills
  • Ability to present well
  • Previous experience in an HR position
  • Ability to process data and turn information into various reports

Typical work environment

Compensation analysts work for a company or organization to help management come up with competitive pay and benefits for their employees. This usually entails a compensation analyst working in their office independently on a computer throughout the day. This means compensation analysts are often found sitting at their desks for long periods of time, however, sometimes they may have to stand for a while to give presentations to supervisors and colleagues in a meeting setting. 

Typical hours

The hours for compensation analysts may vary based on the company’s needs, however, most compensation analysts will work full-time. Many employers are looking for people who are willing to work the standard 9 AM to 5 PM hours. Compensation analysts rarely ever need to work overtime, which is convenient for anyone looking for a predictable and routine work schedule. 

Available certifications

Compensation analysts are heavily relied on, so it’s important that their employers know that they have the proper skills to succeed in their position. Check out some of the most popular certifications for compensation analysts: 

  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Earning the SHRM-CP is one of the most important certificates an HR professional can earn. There are different eligibility requirements you need in order to take the SHRM-CP exam. If you have a bachelor’s degree in an HR-related program, you’ll need to have 3 years of experience in an HR role. However, you will need 4 years of experience if you didn’t earn a bachelor’s degree in HR or in a similar field. Once you have met the requirements, you can take the exam that will help you earn the SHRM-CP certificate. The exam covers foundational questions related to HR policies and situational judgment items that evaluate the candidate’s decision-making skills.  Passing the exam will recognize you as an HR expert and a great leader in the HR field. Compensation analysts are vital in the human resource field, so employers will be impressed when they see potential employees earn the SHRM-CP. 
  • Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). The HRCI is another great certification to earn as an HR professional. This certification is earned by successfully completing competency exams that cover Human Resource Management practices, policies, and principles. After earning your degree in HR or a related field, it is important to stay updated on current practices and policies, so taking this exam is a good way to stay on top of changes in HR principles. Earning the HRCI will ultimately help guide future compensation analysts in their job and impress potential employers as well. 
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Compensation analysts play a significant role in deciding the proper salaries and benefits given to each employee, so it is vital that they understand the basic principles of financial planning. Earning the CFP can be rigorous since it has an added 18-24 months course load, however, it will be worth it as you will better understand how to delegate the money the company has to each individual. The CFP will teach compensation analysts to create and maintain a financial plan by adhering to financial goals and the financial situation of the company. This will help the company better succeed and leave the employer and employees working happily. 

Career path

Once you earn your high school diploma or pass the GED,  you will need to take certain steps in order to become a successful compensation analyst. Earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business management is an important step to becoming a compensation analyst. 

Before landing your first job as a compensation analyst, you will need previous experience in an HR role or a position similar to managing others and money. This could be as simple as being a recruiter or an HR Generalist. Once you have some experience in the work field, you will want to make sure you have the communication and organizational skills that will help you succeed as a compensation analyst. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1141

2020 Employment91,900
Projected Employment in 2030100,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift8,800 increase

Since every company needs to pay their employees and offer some sort of benefits, there are still compensation analysts needed at every organization. As the number of organizations continues to rise, companies will continue to hire compensation analysts to analyze select, and update their benefits policies. There are different ways to set up these policies to help the company save money, which is another reason why employers hire compensation analysts. With each company having a harder time keeping employees within their organization in this economy, compensation analysts are critical to setting competitive salary and compensation packages to attract and keep workers. Ultimately, compensation analysts are there to keep employee benefits and salary competitive, yet cost-effective for the company.