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Compensation and Benefits Manager: Career Overview

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.

July 5, 2024

5 min read


Within the management structure of large companies, human resources (HR) departments are responsible for their organizations’ most valuable assets: their people.


Some HR professionals focus on recruiting new employees, while others concentrate on compensation and employee benefits programs. In this discussion, we’ll explore the role and duties of a compensation and benefits manager, the projected job outlook for this occupation and how to prepare to pursue this important HR position.

What Is a Compensation and Benefits Manager?

A key function of HR departments is to analyze, define and manage the various elements of the employer-employee relationship. This can include the incentives, compensation and benefits that are offered to every employee. 

The big picture goal of human resource management teams is to attract and retain talent that will perform to the highest levels, adding value to the company and helping it achieve its strategic goals. While doing so, HR professionals must consider what contributes to employee satisfaction and what will support their success. Working closely with upper-level management, the compensation and benefits manager plays a pivotal role in this process. 

What Does a Compensation and Benefits Manager Do?

Any discussion of the benefits manager’s duties and responsibilities should begin with an understanding of the importance of how pay is structured in a particular employer-employee relationship. 

Strong compensation policies allow companies to remain competitive. Compensation is categorized as base pay, or an employee’s agreed-on salary or hourly rate, and variable pay which can include bonuses, commissions or incentives. By offering competitive base salaries and benefits like health insurance, 401k matching or tuition assistance, businesses can work to improve employee retention. 

Reduced employee turnover is a benefit for businesses because it contributes to their long-term stability. It also speaks to the value of HR’s multi-faceted role in managing human capital. 

Some of the key responsibilities for benefits managers include:

  • Managing the compensation and benefits team, providing coaching and mentoring as required.

  • Building and maintaining a positive relationship with executive management and supporting their decision-making process relative to compensation and benefits.

  • Designing compensation and benefits policies and recommending programs to management. This requires continual research and evaluation of the requirements, trends and benefits offered by other employers.

  • Identifying benefit options by studying other programs in the marketplace and obtaining advice from consultants.

  • Preparing and distributing benefit reports to and educating employees on how to use them.

  • Answering questions or resolving issues that employees may have.

  • Ensuring compliance with federal or state regulations regarding employment and employee benefits.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects stable growth for compensation and benefits managers, at about 2% from 2022 to 2032 and with about 1,100 job openings each year, on average, over the decade.1 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

Becoming a Compensation and Benefits Manager

If you’re interested in preparing to pursue a career in this essential area of human resource management, your journey should begin with education. You may then need to earn industry-relevant certifications as you gain work experience. 


According to occupational outlook data from the BLS, compensation and benefits managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources or a related field. Here at DeVry University and our Keller Graduate School of Management, we offer a few different programs in human resources that can help you prepare to pursue a career in HR.

Our online Specialization in Human Resource Management can be earned as part of our Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Administration, Business Management or Technical Management, and will cover foundational concepts in employment law, staffing practices, how to navigate HR information systems and more. Coursework on compensation and benefits will center around learning how to design and evaluate compensation packages, balancing legal requirements with voluntary options.  

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree and are looking to advance your career by pursuing management-level roles, our Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management, Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management or our MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources are good options to help you get started.  

Our Master of Human Resource Management and Master of Business Administration with Human Resources specialization programs fully align with the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates, In addition, our Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Technical Management, Master of Business Administration, Master of Human Resource Management and our Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP,, demonstrating that they have met standards of business education that promote teaching excellence.

Industry-relevant certifications

Along with education, certifications help HR professionals validate and renew the skills they’ve developed. HR certifications can also be useful in your job hunt or career advancement goals, helping you stand out to potential employers. 

Here are some of the certifications you might consider earning if you’re pursuing a career as a benefits professional in HR: 

  • Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP): Offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the SHRM-CP is a certification for those who are preparing to pursue human resource management and who intend to work on a more strategic level of HR.

  • Retirement Plans Associate (RPA): Offered by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), the RPA designation is intended for HR professionals who work with defined contribution and benefit plans or those who manage retirement plan assets.

  • Group Benefits Associate (GBA): Also offered by the IFEBP, the GBA credential is for those working with health or other group benefits. The program delivers current information to help benefits managers strategize solutions to group benefit challenges. 

  • Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS): Drawing from both the GBA and RPA credentialing programs, the CEBS designation helps candidates develop a holistic perspective on how to direct retirement and general benefits programs.

Work experience and skills

As with many career paths, work experience is essential for aspiring compensation and benefits managers. According to the BLS, these professionals typically develop experience working in other capacities, often as job, compensation or benefits analysis specialists. They also note that experience in finance or management can be helpful. 

In addition to role-specific skills that can be acquired and sharpened through education, human resource management professionals need to have great people skills. Strong interpersonal skills like active listening, emotional intelligence, negotiation, conflict resolution and communication are essential. Hard skills like project management, analytics and familiarity with various HR software are also indispensable. 

Prepare to Pursue Your HR Management Career at DeVry

At DeVry, our programs are designed to equip you with the essential skills and knowledge to thrive in today's dynamic HR landscape. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance, we empower you to become a future-ready HR professional.

Ready to take the next step toward your goals? Request more info to connect with your dedicated Admissions Representative and learn how our online or hybrid2 8-week class sessions can help you earn your degree or certificate on your timeline. 

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

2Program and course availability vary by location. In site-based programs, students will be required to take a substantial amount of coursework online to complete their program.

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