Wanted: Compensation Professionals, Exceptional Communication Skills Required

September 24, 2018

Compensation work often is referred to as a field that requires a delicate balance of scientific and artistic skills, but new data may be tipping the scale in an unexpected direction toward the arts.

Today, WorldatWork and Salary.com released the results of a new survey, The Compensation Function of the Future: Looking Ahead to 2020, which examines the evolving compensation role in organizations. The results show that, while traditional compensation tasks such as market pricing jobs aren’t going away anytime soon, new work that relies on communication and strategic thinking will become increasingly important.

“As technology capabilities grow and take on many of the more scientific compensation tasks, the artistic, contextual elements of the compensation function are becoming the differentiators,” said Alison Avalos, CCP, CBP, GRP, WorldatWork director of membership and total rewards strategy. “To be successful in 2020, future compensation and HR professionals will need a greater strategic understanding of their organization to be able to tell a story from the data that technological advances are producing. The need for this contextual expertise and the ability to articulate it to leaders is evident in the educational and experiential preferences that survey respondents predict.”  

“Compensation professionals can see how the modern war for talent shapes their business today, and deeply understand how the changing nature of work — and of pay — will have dramatic impacts on their business in two to three years,” said Alys Scott, CMO at Salary.com. “It’s no surprise that as the compensation function looks to meet these new business challenges, they are reassessing the skills and technologies their teams will need to leverage in 2020 to streamline workflows, predict outcomes, enable improved transparency, and better connect with business leaders to drive results.”

Key Findings:

  • Currently, market pricing jobs is viewed as the most important compensation task. While there may be expectations to see growth in the importance of AI, machine learning and predictive analytics in their compensation processes, respondents expect activities related to creating, analyzing, interpreting and/or presenting analytic results, pay equity and transparency to top the list of their most important responsibilities in two to three years.
  • The profile of a successful compensation professional is changing. Across all industries, respondents expect to hire and promote more candidates with liberal arts, finance and HR-related degrees in two to three years than they do now 
  • Business acumen is expected to become the most important attribute for entry- to mid-level compensation professionals in the future. 

NOTE: Credentialed journalists may request a complimentary copy of the survey report by contacting Melissa Murdock at melissa.murdock@worldatwork.org  

 About WorldatWork

WorldatWork (worldatwork.org)  is the leading nonprofit professional association in compensation and total rewards. We serve those who design and deliver total rewards programs to cultivate engaged, effective workforces that power thriving organizations. We accomplish this through education and certification; idea exchange; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and affiliation and networking. Founded in the United States in 1955, today WorldatWork serves total rewards professionals throughout the world working in organizations of all sizes and structures. 

About Salary.com

Salary.com is the leading SaaS provider of cloud-based compensation market data and analytics. Founded in 1999, the Company serves approximately 4,000 business-to-business customers worldwide with its market-leading CompAnalyst platform, designed to accelerate compensation workflows and improve efficiency. Through its Salary Wizard and consumer website, Salary.com delivers continually updated, reliable market pay data and career content to hundreds of thousands of consumers each year. The Company is committed to helping organizations drive company success by aligning compensation practices with recruiting, performance and development initiatives through easy-to-access data and meaningful insights. For more information, please visit the company website at www.salary.com.

Have Questions?


+1 877 951 9191

USA and Canada

+1 480 951 9191

Other Countries


Email Us