Step-by-Step Guide to be a Compensation Specialist

November 21, 20192:38 pm2209 views

Asides from being an HR professional, holding an HR degree can open more doors of opportunity to a wider scope of career. One of the most in-demand jobs is compensation specialist. Are you interested in becoming one? Here is useful information to pursue this. 

What is Compensation Specialist?  

Working under the human resources department, a compensation specialist is someone employed by an organisation who needs advanced skills and knowledge of specialist focused only on compensation. Compensation specialist, regardless of responsibilities and company size, has an important role in different aspects of a company’s operations. 

See also: HR Knowledge: Understanding Stakeholders Compensation Systems

Job description and responsibilities  

When you become a compensation expert, you will not only oversee special compensation plan within a company but also provide professional guidance, coordination, and support on job classification and compensation administration policies and practices. Here is the long list of responsibilities to be compensation expert. 

  • Administer and maintain various compensation-related data management systems
  • Coordinate and facilitate the implementation of corporate-level compensation programs and initiatives
  • Provide advice, training, and support to HR consultants in the application of compensation management principles, guidelines, procedures, and best practices 
  • Collaborate with HR consultants in the analysis and review of job classification and reclassification request and quality controls for existing and new positions
  • Research and analyse competitive compensation practices in the job market
  • Maintain and update compensation database and job description website (In this point, compensation specialist needs to collaborate with HR system analyst regarding programming and data integrity) 
  • Develop and maintain relationships with all managers and HR partners to prepare compensation strategies and implement all compensation plans, policies, and programs
  • Supervise all variable pay programs and recommend improvements/modifications to hire pay package and prepare reports for all hiring pay packages 
  • Approve bonuses or commissions and salaries to ensure competitiveness 
  • Ensure that the industry pay scale complies with changing laws and regulations 
  • Ensure equal and fair pay that comply with employment law 

Job requirements  

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, compensation specialist should complete an undergraduate degree program in HR, business administration or a related field to qualify for a position in the field. Yet, having a Master of Business Administration degree or master in HR management or related graduate degree would be an advantage. 

Other than education, here is the list of requirements to be a compensation expert. 

  • At least 3 years of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified (Some organisations might prefer completed degrees from an accredited institution that are above the minimum education which will be a substitution for experience on a year for year basis) 
  • Certification of compensation professionals would be an advantage 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community 
  • Team workability 
  • Computer fluency 
  • Research ability 
  • Database management skills 
  • Ability to provide training and technical guidance
  • Knowledge and ability of organisation structure, staffing patterns, and job design 
  • Ability to make administrative and procedural decisions and judgments on sensitive, confidential issues
  • Knowledge of compensation administration principles and procedures  

Additional resources  

If you are keen on pursuing a career as a compensation specialist, investing money to get higher and more certifications is needed. Here are some useful links to help get the best compensation study. 

  • provides online and offline university and certification search to be certified compensation experts 
  • eCornell provides online certification in compensations. When enrolling, you can get compensation studies certificate from Cornell ILR School, 40 professional development hours, 36 professional development credits toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification, and 4 recertification credits toward CCP, CBP, GRP, etc. 
  • WorldatWork provides various learning from beginner to executive compensation program 

Compensation Specialist salary 

For the salary, Bureau of Labour Statistics cited that the median pay in 2018 was US$68,000 annually with US$30.29 hourly pay. The job outlook is increasing 6 percent as fast as average from 2018 to 2028 

Meanwhile, the average salary of compensation specialist as per PayScale statistic is US$61,397 with an average hourly salary of US$20.21. You will also get profit sharing, commission, and bonus worth up to US$15,000. Note that you might get lower or higher salary depends on your certification, experience, and location. 

Read also: Step-by-step Guide To Be The Next CHRO

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