Compensation Manager Salary

By Henry Steele - January 8, 2018
Reading Time: 8 minutes
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The following article discusses the career path of Compensation Manager. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Compensation Managers.

Job Duties

Compensation managers hold responsibility for making sure employee compensation program and payroll runs efficiently and accurately. They can be found in any kind of organization, from small businesses to large corporations, where they manage and develop benefit and compensation plans for staff. This includes things such as 401(k) programs, health care programs, paid time off programs, benefits, and pay rates.

Usually, these professionals are found within the human resources department. Here, they ensure that all compensation strategies are carried out in an effective manner. They understand the annual job market and what other companies offer in terms of compensation. In so doing, they ensure that their business remains profitable but also attractive to employees.

Other job duties of compensation managers are:

    • To manage the recruitment, training, development, and retention of staff
    • To ensure the compensation department runs smoothly on a day to day basis, focusing on incentive programs, salary administration, performance appraisal, and job evaluation

– Planning all practices, policies, and procedures in relation to compensation programs, thereby making sure the organization’s overall objectives can be met

  • To ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulatory requirements, as well as with professional standards

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 15,800 compensation and benefits managers in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals were:

  • Management of companies and enterprises: 24%
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services: 13%
  • Government: 10%
  • Insurance carriers and related activities: 9%
  • Healthcare and social assistance: 8%

How to Become

Usually, a compensation manager has at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to human resources or business. However, more employers now look for those who hold a graduate degree, preferably the master of business administration (MBA) degree. Those who have at least some experience in management, payroll, and human resources are the highest in demand.

Education Requirements

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in finance, business management, business administration, or human resources is required, but the MBA is now preferred. Employers also look for those with significant professional experience gained through past positions. Usually, these professionals start their career in a job, benefits, or compensation analysis role, growing into the position of manager thanks to experience gained through various fields of human resources.

There is no legal requirement for compensation managers to hold a certification. However, obtaining it does increase credibility and demonstrates expertise. Some employers prefer those who have been certified. However, with management programs, it often takes several years before someone can qualify for the examination. Most certifications are completed through organizations such as WorldatWork and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Alternatively, general HR certifications can be obtained through the HR Certification Institute.

Traits & Qualities

The most effective compensation managers have the following traits to some degree or other:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent business acumen
  • Perfect communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Decision making skills, even under pressure
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Being willing to work long hours, including some unsociable ones
  • To have superior problem solving, quantitative, and analytical skills

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Compensation Manager was $93,104. This number is estimated from over 268,524 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $48.49 and monthly of $7,759.

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$29,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Compensation Manager salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Massachusetts had the largest quoted salary of $118,205 while South Carolina had the smallest quoted salary of $46,406.

AlabamaGeorgiaMinnesotaSouth Carolina
ArizonaHawaiiMissouriTennessee
CaliforniaIdahoNorth CarolinaTexas
ColoradoIllinoisNew JerseyUtah
ConnecticutKentuckyNew YorkVirginia
DCMassachusettsOhioWashington
DelawareMarylandOregonWisconsin
FloridaMichiganPennsylvania
Alabama$86,201Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Faststream Recruitment, INC and Auburn University.

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$43,000

$144,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$73,331Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Arizona.

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$14,000

$186,000

Salary Distribution
California$97,961Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TheBestIRS, Insurance Recruiting Specialists, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, IW Care Connection, Inc., and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$30,000

$203,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$84,857Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$26,000

$178,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$100,764Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Ascendo Resources, and KS Search.

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$40,000

$188,000

Salary Distribution
DC$108,906Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$54,000

$181,000

Salary Distribution
Delaware$105,539Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Integrity Staffing Solutions and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$53,000

$175,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$83,426Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Washington Frank, NARS, Primary Recruiting Services, and Kforce Finance and Accounting.

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$30,000

$162,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$75,697Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like TheBestIRS, Insurance Recruiting Specialists, The Intersect Group, and EiS Technologies, Inc.

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$18,000

$171,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$94,348Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Staffing Solutions of Hawaii.

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$47,000

$149,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$112,840Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Selective Recruitment, hiring for client.

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$57,000

$176,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$106,093Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Godfrey Personnel, Inc., Randstad, Direct Search Systems, and Hirewell.

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$44,000

$194,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$103,512Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CMI Consulting.

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$47,000

$180,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$118,205Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Managed Staffing, incredibleHires, Robert Half Management Resources, and HireAlliance.

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$48,000

$218,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$91,677Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Chesapeake Search Partners.

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$38,000

$167,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$98,909Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Synergy Comp Insurance Company and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$33,000

$200,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$93,579Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting and ProtechLosAngeles.

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$40,000

$168,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$72,216Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$18,000

$160,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$88,064Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like City of Asheville and Xcentri.

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$30,000

$177,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$94,117Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like JAM Recruitment Ltd, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Groupe LEADER, and Wyndham Worldwide.

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$33,000

$186,000

Salary Distribution
New York$101,184Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Execu|Search, Green Key Resources, NTRC, and Huxley Associates.

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$29,000

$216,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$93,333Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Medical Search Associates, Ohio University, Alliance Solutions Group, and Roland and Associates.

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$32,000

$185,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$94,635Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$47,000

$159,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$94,674Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Laurus Group, and Juno Search Partners.

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$31,000

$192,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$46,406Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Accountemps.

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$7.25

$56.35

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$67,455Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Jericho HR Group.

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$23,000

$133,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$99,043Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Houston Independent School District, Mackenzie Stuart plc, Randstad, and Deacon Recruiting.

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$28,000

$211,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$62,957Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Utah Valley University.

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$16,000

$141,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$82,858Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Goodwin Recruiting, University of Virginia, TheBestIRS, Insurance Recruiting Specialists, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$33,000

$153,000

Salary Distribution
Washington$96,513Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like City of Seattle, Harborview Medical Center, and Microsoft.

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$40,000

$176,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$94,636Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Career Brokers, Inc..

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$47,000

$149,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Compensation Manager. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer NameLocationAverage Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career NameAverage Salary

Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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