August 19, 2023

Why a Career in Compensation and Benefits (Total Rewards) Could Be Your Best Move?

Cheryl Goh, Product Marketing Manager

Why a Career in Compensation and Benefits (Total Rewards) Could Be Your Best Move?

Introduction to Total Rewards (Compensation) Career

So, you're contemplating a career in HR and considering various fields within it. The question arises: why consider a career in compensation, or as it's often referred to, total rewards? What makes this path special? We've put together ten compelling reasons why you should think about steering your career in this direction.

Labor as a Key Expense

Labor: Your Organization's Biggest Expense

It's no secret that labor typically forms the largest expense for any organization. As a compensation professional, your input becomes critical to shaping both the company's business strategy and people strategy. Can you imagine the gravity of impact your decisions can have?

In-depth Business Acumen

Understanding the Intricacies of Every Job

When you're in compensation, you're not just dealing with numbers. You have the unique opportunity to understand the complexities and intricacies of nearly every job in your organization. This exposure enables you to deepen your business acumen, as you gradually become familiar with the various gears that keep the business machine running smoothly.

The Multidimensional Role of Compensation in HR

Compensation's Wide Reach in HR

Did you know that compensation touches nearly every facet of HR? From recruiting and talent management to learning and development, the reach of compensation is extensive. Consequently, you acquire knowledge and skills across all HR centers of excellence. This breadth makes you a versatile and vital member of the HR team.

The Art of Calculating Pay

Pay Calculation: Not as Black-and-White

Calculating pay isn't as black-and-white as most people may think. There are several variables at play, from an employee's experience level and skill set to the job's location and market value. As a compensation professional, you're equipped to educate colleagues, friends, and even family on how to advocate for themselves in this often misunderstood area.

The Impact on Employees' Basic Needs

Ensuring Employees are Paid Competitively

By deciding compensation packages, you directly influence whether employees are paid competitively, ensuring their basic human needs are met. You're in a position where you can create a fair and rewarding work environment, and that's a great place to be.

Interaction with Other Departments

Becoming a Well-Rounded Business Partner

As a compensation professional, you don't just interact with the HR department. You'll collaborate with multiple departments outside of HR—from Finance and Legal to Audit and Compliance. This exposure helps you become a more well-rounded business partner, further deepening your understanding of the business as a whole.

Access to Critical Market Insights

Gaining Access to Valuable Market Insights

By participating in surveys and conferences, you gain unique access to critical market insights. These insights are deeply valued by business leaders and can inform strategic decisions, making you an indispensable asset to your organization.

Promoting Pay Equity and Diversity

Advancing Diversity Initiatives Through Pay Equity

You have the power to promote pay equity in the workplace through the programs you administer, helping advance diversity initiatives. In a world increasingly aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, this role can be incredibly satisfying and impactful.

Developing both Hard and Soft Skills

Exercising Hard and Soft Skills of HR

Being in compensation isn't just about crunching numbers—it also involves exercising the soft skills of HR. From communication and critical thinking to project management and data storytelling, you'll consistently be honing both hard and soft skills.

Transferable Skills across Industries

Acquiring Transferable Skills

The skills, playbooks, and frameworks you pick up as a compensation professional are often transferable across industries and operating models. This transferability means your career possibilities are broad and versatile.


As a compensation professional, you play a pivotal role in shaping business strategies, understanding organizational intricacies, and ensuring fair and competitive pay. By promoting pay equity, you help advance diversity initiatives, and through your interaction with various departments, you acquire a holistic business understanding. The skills you gain are not just limited to your current industry, but are widely applicable across sectors. With such a wide-reaching and influential role, it's easy to see why pursuing a career in compensation is a rewarding and impactful choice.