Administrators of retirement plans are classified as compensation and benefits managers. They work to ensure that employee pay and benefits packages, including 401(k) plans and other retirement benefits, are competitive and in accordance with state and federal laws. This high-paying position usually requires a bachelor's or master's degree in finance or business administration.
Average Salary and Range
As of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that compensation and benefits managers earned an average salary of $105,920 per year -- the equivalent of earning about $50.92 an hour. Half of all compensation and benefits managers in the United States reportedly earned salaries ranging from $71,000 to $130,200 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent made $54,060 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent brought home $172,450 or more per year.
Private Companies Pay More
Private companies tend to pay compensation and benefits managers higher wages than they make in the public sector, although average salaries vary considerably by industry. The very highest average pay, $148,130, was earned by those who oversaw the benefits packages at electronic markets and brokers. Those who oversaw benefit packages in the oil and gas extraction industry earned the second-highest average pay, $145,550 per year. Compensation and benefits managers at insurance carriers earned an average of $117,740 per year, and those at hospitals averaged $106,960 per year. By comparison, those employed by local government agencies earned an average of $87,740 per year, while those working for state government agencies averaged $81,100.
Northeast Leads in Salaries
On average, compensation and benefits managers working in the Northeast reported the highest average salaries. The four highest-paying states were all located in the Northeast: New York, where benefits managers averaged $133,850; New Jersey, at $133,760; Rhode Island, at $122,190; and Massachusetts, at $119,480. Compensation and benefits managers working in Texas, ranked fifth, earning an average of $119,250 per year. The lowest pay was concentrated in the Southeast, with Mississippi reporting the very lowest average pay in the country, $68,050 per year.
The number of Americans receiving retirement and other benefit packages through their employers is expected to expand between 2010 and 2020. However, compensation and benefits managers are expected to experience very slow job growth, primarily because businesses frequently hire outside human resources firms to manage their benefits packages. While the American economy is expected to add jobs at a rate of 14 percent between 2010 and 2020, jobs for benefits managers are only expected to increase by 3 percent. So, competition for these jobs is expected to be very strong.
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