The recruitment, hiring and retention of qualified employees is vital to business success. Benefit administrators are HR professionals who assist in this process by designing and administering employee benefit programs including health insurance and retirement plans. Individuals with a broad range of business, communication and interpersonal skills have access to the best opportunities in this increasingly competitive field.
Employment of HR managers including benefit administrators is expected to increase rapidly in the years ahead. This will be prompted largely by rising healthcare costs and new coverage options. As noted by the Princeton Review, there are approximately 50,000 benefits administration specialists currently working in the U.S.
Annual salaries for benefit administrators vary based on numerous factors including location, industry, company size, years of experience and level of education. The current median salary in Philadelphia is $96,708. Salaries in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are about 4 percent higher than the national average.
Benefit administrators serve as a liaison between management, employees and vendors and provide advice on eligibility, coverage and related matters. Typically, they negotiate with insurance companies and retirement plan providers and make related recommendations in accordance with company goals. They may also administer wellness, legal, transportation and other assistance programs.
- Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration or HR, but some entry-level positions call for an associate’s degree or even a high-school diploma. Then, with successful experience, promotions often are warranted.
- Benefit administrators need a thorough working knowledge and understanding of accepted business practices, especially those pertinent to organizational development and leadership. Their academic coursework might encompass strategic management, applied decision methods and/or statistics. Another option is to enroll in HR electives or pursue an HR administration minor with a curriculum that may include compensation and benefits and administrative and personnel law courses.
- Desired skills include excellent communications, data analysis and quantitative abilities. A background in law or technology – especially IT management – is a plus as benefit plans become more complex and laws and regulations evolve. Professional certifications also are helpful, as is targeting your education toward specialty fields such as Social Security disability, veteran’s benefits or mediation and arbitration.
Opportunities in Philadelphia
Check out the Magellan Search & Staffing website for these benefit-related and other career opportunities in the Philadelphia area:
- Benefits Administrator/Open Enrollment – Philadelphia County: Respond to incoming calls from employees regarding benefits for open enrollment. Provide information and resolve issues in a timely manner. A minimum of two years’ benefits administration experience, as well as strong computer and communication skills, are required.
- Benefit Counselor – Philadelphia County: Support the benefit enrollment process at a recognized industry-leading company. Flexible hours are offered in this position, which provides general HR administrative as well as benefit administration support. Requirements include a minimum of two years’ previous work experience.
A Magellan career coach can help you realize your career aspirations in benefit administration and related fields. To learn more, read our related posts or contact us today.