HR Generalist Vs Benefits Specialist

Both human resources (HR) generalists and benefits specialists work in the HR department of companies to assist employees. However, their roles differ in scope. Find out more about these careers.

Comparing HR Generalists to Benefits Specialists

Human resources (HR) generalists and benefits specialists assist in the management of employees for a company. HR generalists tend to manage many aspects of an HR department, while a benefits specialist focuses only on benefits. Below you can find out more about how these positions are similar and different.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
HR Generalist Bachelor's degree $51,919 5% (for all human resources specialists)
Benefits Specialist Bachelor's degree $48,204 5% (for all human resources specialists)

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of HR Generalists vs. Benefits Specialists

HR generalists and benefits specialists both work with current employees to help them with filling out forms and staying up to date on certain policies. However, HR generalists have a much wider scope in their position in that they handle some things pertaining to benefits, but they also handle other tasks, such as recruiting or keeping records. They usually work in an office. Benefits specialists also usually work in the HR department office, but they have a specific focus on insurance and other benefits for current employees.

HR Generalist

HR generalists wear many hats in an HR office. They oversee most aspects of HR in a company, including what happens with new hires, maintaining employee leave, and administering benefits. Their specific tasks may include keeping records on employees. They may also manage employee attendance and handle reporting after an injury. HR generalists, like most HR specialists, work during regular full time business hours.

Job responsibilities of an HR Generalist include:

  • Training new employees
  • Complying with labor regulations
  • Coordinating performance reviews
  • Handling analysis projects when required

Benefits Specialist

Benefits specialists handle everything that a company needs related to benefits. They make sure that employees have the benefits they are eligible for, whether medical, dental, retirement plans, disability, or life insurance. They make sure that benefit billing is carried out accurately. Benefits specialists are also knowledgeable so that they can offer their expertise to other team members. They should have integrity when it comes to maintaining employee confidentiality.

Job responsibilities of a Benefits Specialist include:

  • Maintaining records of employee terminations
  • Handling insurance open enrollment for employees
  • Having knowledge about state and federal regulations
  • Communicating with employees about benefit options and requirements

Related Careers

If someone is interested in what an HR generalist does, they might be interested in becoming an executive administrative assistant, since both manage many tasks in an office setting. Anyone intrigued by what a benefits specialist does might consider becoming an insurance agent, since both work closely with explaining and initiating insurance plans for clients.

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