Some children dream of becoming a doctor or firefighter when they grow up. Others know by the time they are in high school they are headed for a career in teaching or engineering. However, have you ever heard a young person say they want to grow up to be a benefits specialist or a retirement plans advisor? Neither have we!
These less well-known, yet very rewarding jobs are common in the employee benefits industry. These types of employee benefits careers are predicted to have “average” to “much faster than average” job growth from 2018-2028, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau cited increasingly complex employment laws and health care coverage options as reasons for the growth in these careers. The issues of health benefits and retirement readiness affect everyone and are in the news almost daily. Professionals in this industry do the very important work of providing health care and retirement benefits for employees and their families to support their financial, physical and emotional well-being. They are in valuable positions to help people obtain the resources and services they need.
Individuals who end up working in employee benefits come from a variety of backgrounds such as human resources, finance, law, health care, actuarial science, risk management and data analytics.
Many will say they “fell” into benefits without much specialized education or training in this area. They learned on the job and discovered they love being in a role that gives them the opportunity to impact the lives of their colleagues and clients each day. They celebrate the successes and embrace the challenges and complexities that come with this work.
However, they need additional knowledge and expertise to be successful. How do they obtain this? They look to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans for a variety of educational and research resources in employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy. Specifically, the International Foundation partners with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Dalhousie University in Canada to offer the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist®/CEBS® program, which is recognized as the gold standard for employee benefits education. The CEBS designation provides professionals with the specialized knowledge and expertise in both health care strategy and retirement plan funding to think strategically and make decisions confidently for their organization and clients.
There are many components to benefits programs, which means a variety of job opportunities. Here are some of the positions in this field experiencing above-average job growth, with general information about their roles/responsibilities.
Analyze the financial costs of risk, uncertainty and loss for an organization.
- Benefits Specialist
Plan, develop and oversee an organization’s benefits programs.
- Communications Strategist
Disseminate information and coordinate educational events related to health care, retirement and workplace wellness plans.
- Compliance Attorney
Ensure the organization is meeting all the regulatory and compliance requirements of its benefit plans.
- Data Analytics Specialist
Analyze reports on the usage of health care services to determine areas with the largest need for intervention and education.
- Director, Total Rewards
Coordinate the team of benefits associates, and oversee the full benefits and compensation package offered to employees.
- Financial Advisor
Help individuals manage their finances and plan for their financial future.
- Global Benefits Analyst
Analyze and harmonize benefits for employees working for a multinational corporation.
- Health Services Financial Manager
Provide oversight on the costs of benefit plans and the impact on the organization’s bottom line.
- Human Resources Manager
Plan, direct and coordinate the strategic human capital and administrative functions of an organization.
- Insurance Representative
Sell insurance products and provide customer service.
Is a Career in Employee Benefits for You?
Do any of these jobs sound interesting? Go to JobsInBenefits to check out the opportunities!
[Related Reading: 25 Reasons to Earn Your CEBS—Straight From Your Peers]
Sandy Tellefson, CEBS
Manager, Education Services at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
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2 thoughts on “Explore a Career in Employee Benefits”
I “fell” into benefits 2.5 years ago, and have never looked back. After almost 13 years into my professional career, I found my niche as a Benefits Specialist. This article is amazingly accurate, as I find my work so rewarding due to the impact I make daily in the lives of my employees. Yes, this line of work can be incredibly challenging, but it is so rewarding.
Sandy Tellefson, CEBS
Thank you for sharing your story Samantha!
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