A payroll and benefits manager plans, directs and organizes the way a company pays its employees and how it offers benefits packages to employees. This position typically requires a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers prefer a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2012, the median annual salary for payroll and benefits managers was $95,250.
The BLS says that as of May 2012, wholesale electronics markets and agents and brokers paid the highest for this occupation, with an annual mean salary of $148,130. Oil and gas extraction was the second top-paying industry, paying an annual mean salary of $145,550. Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage ranked third, with an annual mean salary of $137,130. The management of companies and enterprises and local government, excluding schools and hospitals, had the highest levels of employment.
New York was the top-paying state for payroll and benefits managers, with an annual mean salary of $133,850. The second-highest annual mean salary was New Jersey, at $133,760. Rhode Island was the third, with an annual mean salary of $122,190. California, New York and Illinois employed the most payroll and benefits managers.
The metropolitan areas of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, Calif., paid the most at an annual mean salary of $154,190. San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City, Calif., were second, paying an annual mean salary of $144,180. Third were New York, White Plains and Wayne, in New York and New Jersey, with an annual mean salary of $141,290. The metropolitan areas of New York, White Plains and Wayne had the highest levels of employment.
The nonmetropolitan area of eastern Wisconsin paid the most for this occupation, at an annual mean salary of $82,330. Northeast Mississippi paid the second highest, at $74,640. Third was southeastern Oklahoma, with an annual mean salary of $71,120. The lower peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area had the highest level of employment.
Job growth for payroll and benefits managers will increase 3 percent between 2010 and 2020, the BLS predicts, slower than the average for all jobs. With companies steadily outsourcing their payroll and benefits tasks, job growth should slow. Consequently, applicants will face competition for employment.
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