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How to Become a Compensation Manager

Career News September 24, 2013

Compensation managers require the same rigid background of studies as a benefits manager and often perform the same duties. They often specialize in one particular area of benefits, such as health care or disability insurance, but their main responsibility is in administering compensation and benefit programs for employers.

What Level of Education is Required?

A bachelor’s degree is required for an entry level job, with a strong background in human resources management. Interdisciplinary course work should include business administration, social sciences and social behavior. As it has many highly technical applications, it is advisable to study labor law, labor history, labor economics, collective bargaining, and computer skills. Core classes include principles of management, industrial psychology and organizational structure.

Acquiring an internship or job study program with a company is also advisable. Prospective employers will consider both the degree of education and job related experience the applicant has before determining their position. Many employers will give on the job training before assigning their employee to a specific area.

Typically, compensation managers work with a variety of people from a variety of educational levels and cultural backgrounds. Those who have learned at least one foreign language base will have the greater advantage when applying for a compensation manager position. Their skill sets should include an ability to work under pressure, discretion in handling confidential information and a strong sense of integrity.

A compensations manager will be expected to be able to resolve labor disputes and grievances, represent the organization they are working for in personnel related investigations, prepare departmental budgets, conduct exit interviews and participate in employee terminations.

They must have a thorough background in labor law and know all the legal aspects of compensation and employee termination. Their expertise must include the knowledge needed for protecting their organization from lawsuits and government penalties.

How Important is Certification?

Certification is advisable. After the completion of their college level courses, candidates can earn credit toward becoming a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). Other certification includes a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) and Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP).

Candidates must pass an extensive series of knowledge based exams to correspond with each of the certification designations. The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans offers classes and online courses for continuing education and receiving certification.

In all industries, compensation manager positions are expected to grow at a faster than average rate; approximately 17% through the year 2016. A large number of employees are reaching retirement age, with many approaching with ongoing health issues. Considering the degree of complexity involved with benefits and compensation packages, the demand for compensation managers is expected to continue to grow.

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