Usual career routes
It is usual to start out in a junior, generalist role and gain specific experience to enable you to move into compensation and benefits. Given the statistical and analytical nature and requirements of comp and bens, it is not unknown for a junior tax administrator or an accountant to successfully move into the field.
What you need to succeed
A degree (such as maths or economics) and CIPD qualification, as well as 12-18 months’ specific comp and bens experience. You are likely to have excellent analytical and database skills, as well as a track record of applying a numerate and analytical approach to business issues. Market research and benchmarking experience is also useful. Some companies expect a degree, so will actively seek accountancy qualifications when recruiting.
What is involved
Much will depend on the size and nature of the organisation. In larger companies, where a comp and bens team is in place, this may be a supporting role. Here your responsibilities are likely to include assisting with the admin of the pension and private healthcare schemes, producing management information statistics and some payroll administration. In smaller companies, or those without an established comp and bens department, you will probably work with a degree of autonomy. Responsibilities are likely to include providing advice and guidance on comp and bens issues to managers and the HR team, as well as maintaining, researching and formulating comp and bens policies and researching and making recommendations on comp and bens-related issues.
Individuals with specialist comp and bens experience are usually able to command premium salaries and enhanced packages. Once they have significant experience, their career opportunities increase.