A superior compensation and benefits package can make the difference for business seeking to hire and retain high-quality employees. Benefits analysts are responsible for the administration, communication and analysis of benefit programs. Earning a bachelor’s degree with a minor in human resources administration can result in a competitive advantage when it comes to landing the best benefits analyst jobs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of all human resources specialists – including benefits analysts – will increase much more rapidly than the average for all occupations. Job growth will result as changes in employment, healthcare and labor relations legislation drive businesses to hire human resources professionals with compensation and benefits expertise. Bachelor’s degree holders with human resources training should enjoy the best job prospects.
Benefits Analyst Job Duties
Typically, benefits analysts take primary responsibility for administering and communicating benefit programs at the corporate level. They interpret related policies and procedures, and ensure compliance with regulatory agencies. Depending on the employer, benefits analysts may focus locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
Benefits analysts are often required to monitor, analyze and recommend compliance actions for new and evolving benefit legislation. They usually participate in management decisions involving business mergers, acquisitions and integrations.
It’s important for benefits analysts to have a strong grasp on the industry in which they work. Staying on top of industry trends and changes enables them to keep their employers competitive. Accordingly, benefits analysts may participate in industry groups, network with peers, and attend trade shows and conferences to gain insights into competitors’ benefits packages.
Daily job duties for benefits analysts may include evaluating existing benefit programs and proposing changes, as well as developing new programs. They may create communication materials, such as presentations and information packages, to keep employees and management updated on plan changes and amendments. Benefits analysts often work closely with outside or internal legal advisors to ensure compliance and mitigate risk.
Benefits analysts may supervise benefits specialists or other staff. Larger firms may employ a benefits team; in this case, the benefits analyst typically assists with guiding other team members, counsels employees on benefits-related issues, and handles escalated employee concerns.
For most benefits analysts, the work day is spent in an office. A standard 40-hour week is typical. Travel to satellite offices, conferences or trade shows may be required.
Potential Salary for Benefits Analysts
BLS data from May 2009 showed that as a whole, compensation, benefits and job analysis specialists earned an average annual salary of $58,520. Professionals in the middle 50% bracket earned between $43,340 and $70,130. Salaries for the lowest 10% were around $34,960, while the highest 10% enjoyed an income in excess of $86,540.
Individuals employed specifically in a benefits analyst role earned an average salary ranging from $41,334 to $59,085 as of October 2010, according to national salary data on PayScale.com. Recent bachelor’s graduates will generally start out toward the lower end of these salary ranges. The top salaries generally go to benefits analysts with extensive experience and advanced education or certification.
Education and Training
Most benefits analyst jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree as well as specialized human resources knowledge. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with relevant experience, as well as industry certification.
The first step to a successful benefits analyst career can be a bachelor’s degree program in business administration, applied psychology with a concentration in organizational psychology, or another related field, plus a minor in human resources administration. HR coursework typically includes administrative and personnel law, management of human resources, compensation and benefits, and organization theory.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a human resources administration program are able to:
- Understand legal perspectives on wages, pay equity and benefits.
- Apply proven strategies for attracting, assessing and acquiring high-quality personnel.
- Incorporate organizational training theory, methodology and evaluation in a changing business environment.
- Sit for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®) certification exams and attain industry certification.
- Leverage advanced skills and knowledge to succeed as a benefits analyst.
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to further your education.
Is a Benefits Analyst Career in Your Future?
Human resources is a constantly changing field that is ideal for individuals who thrive in a fast-paced work environment. If you possess personal qualities such as sound judgment, good decision-making abilities, analytical skills and integrity, you could be a great candidate for a benefits analyst position. HR specialists also require excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills. By honing these skills and earning a bachelor’s degree with a minor in human resources administration, you’ll be on target to establish a rewarding and successful benefits analyst career!