The larger portion of Payroll Specialists in the United States are women. Median pay in this female-dominated area goes for around $18.53 per hour. Cash earnings for Payroll Specialists — including $5K in bonuses and $7K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $31K to $57K depending on individual performance. The company is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the particular city and years of experience. For the most part, Payroll Specialists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$34,832 - $60,577
(Median)
$35K
$46K
$61K
MEDIAN: $46,002
10%
50%
90%

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$14.08 - $24.50
(Median)
$14
$19
$25
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$34,832 - $60,577  
   
Bonus
$501 - $5,107  
Profit Sharing
$295.90 - $6,831  
Commission
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$30,899 - $57,324  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,314
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$14.08 - $24.50  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.25  
Overtime
$21.05 - $37.77  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$501 - $5,107  
   
Commission
$1,000  
Profit Sharing
$295.90 - $6,831  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$30,899 - $57,324  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,018
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Job Description for Payroll Specialist

Payroll specialists can be found in many industries from small businesses to large organizations. Job responsibilities often include payroll processing, maintaining personnel databases, and managing budgetary expenditures. Knowledge and experience with tax laws, union contracts, wage and hour laws, and common fiscal procedures are important. Most payroll specialists are expected to have a good understanding of budgetary operations. Payroll specialists report to a supervisor who oversees the department. Flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, may be required.

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Payroll Specialist Tasks

  • Maintain current knowledge of IRS regulations.
  • Compile and submit payroll deductions related check requests and payments.
  • Maintain, prepare and process payroll for organization personnel.
  • Audit employee timesheets for hours worked and accuracy.
  • Prepare payroll related journal entries for period-end.

Common Career Paths for Payroll Specialist


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While not commonly seen, Payroll Specialists who transition into a Human Resources Manager position may see a rise in pay. The median salary for Human Resources Managers is $59K per year. The most common career progression for Payroll Specialists leads to becoming a Payroll Manager, where average pay is $56K annually. However, many Payroll Specialists also opt to become Payroll Administrators. Typically, a Payroll Administrator brings home $41K.

Payroll Specialist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Payroll Specialist


Paychex, Inc., Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP), ADP National Accounts, Kraco, and Francis E. Parker Memorial Home are leaders in the field that employ a large number of Payroll Specialists. Kraco attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $54K.

Although Paychex, Inc. hands out the lowest average salary in town at $35K, employee compensation still varies greatly; workers can make as little as $28K or as much as $53K.

Popular Skills for Payroll Specialist


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in ADP Time and Attendance System, Automatic Data Processing Software Suite, ADP Payroll System, and ADP are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 8 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Data Entry. Most people skilled in Microsoft Excel are similarly competent in Data Entry.

Pay by Experience Level for Payroll Specialist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Payroll Specialists do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. The average beginner in this position makes around $38K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $44K. Payroll Specialists claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $45K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $46K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $42,046

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Seattle is home to an above-average pay rate for Payroll Specialists, 23 percent higher than the national average. Payroll Specialists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+20 percent), San Diego (+13 percent), Houston (+12 percent), and Los Angeles (+10 percent). Tampa ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 13 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include St. Louis and Nashville (5 percent lower).

Payroll Specialist Reviews

What is it like working as a Payroll Specialist?

Payroll Specialist in Austin:
"For Love or Money?"
Pros: I enjoy successfully processing an accurate pay period because I care about every one of our employees and want them to not worry about compensation for their hard work.
Cons: Offering 100% of myself on a daily basis, and feeling like I am compensated for 75%. I least like that I cannot participate in PFP or some type of Bonus structure.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Payroll Specialist Salaries




National Average
$42,000


Skills That Affect Payroll Specialist Salaries




Payroll Tax Compliance
up arrow 4%

ADP
up arrow 4%

Benefits & Compensation
up arrow 3%

Payroll Administration
up arrow 2%

Microsoft Excel
0%

Accounting
0%

National Average
$42,000

Microsoft Office
up arrow 1%

Microsoft Word
up arrow 1%

Customer Service
up arrow 2%

Accounts Payable
up arrow 2%

Data Processing
up arrow 2%

Data Entry
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 499 votes.

Gender

Female
90 %
Male
10 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
33%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 81%
dental benefits
Dental: 72%
medical benefits
Vision: 62%
dental benefits
None: 17%
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