How Much Do Compensation Consulting Firms Charge?

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When hiring a compensation consultant, most organizations have the same question: How much does it cost? The answer is not always simple. Each firm has a different fee structure, so pricing will vary based on what your company needs and what you’re willing to pay. However, because there is a range of services offered by consultants, you should be able to get an idea of their costs ahead of time. There are many factors that affect how much you can expect to pay for expert help in this area. Here are some things to consider before hiring a compensation consultant:

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How much do compensation consultants charge?

The cost of hiring a compensation consultant depends on the consulting firm, the size of your organization and the type of work you need done. Some organizations choose to use in-house HR staff to be responsible for setting compensation, while others hire an outside firm for assistance. The average compensation consultant fee for organizations with 1,000 or more employees is about $25,000, although fees for smaller organizations can be less, and for larger organizations, they may be more. In addition to consulting fees, you should also factor in costs such as the lost time of internal employees, travel expenses and employee surveys. Many firms have different pricing structures for different types of clients, so be sure to ask about the price for your specific organization and the type of work you need done. You may also find that some firms have different rates during certain times of the year.

Which factors determine compensation consulting fees?

Experience and reputation are two key factors that determine how much a compensation consultant charges. Generally, the more experience a firm has and the more work it has done for well-known organizations, the higher its fees will be. Consulting firms also charge more when they are required to obtain special government clearances to work with certain organizations. Fees also vary based on the type of work a compensation consultant does for your organization. For example, the fees for conducting an external benchmarking study are generally higher than those for an internal equity review.

The range of services offered by a compensation consultant

Compensation consultants provide a wide variety of services. The specific services you hire a consultant to perform will determine the fees you pay. The five core services offered by compensation consultants are: – External benchmarking – Conducting surveys – Internal equity reviews – Salary surveys – Strategic compensation planning

Organizational costs and benefits of hiring a compensation consultant

Organizational costs include fees and time spent by employees to help the consultant complete the work. You should also consider the potential for savings if a consultant finds that you need to change salaries for certain employees. Some organizations save money by using an external consultant to avoid the time and expense of conducting an internal equity review. However, many organizations decide to do their own salary surveys, benchmarking studies and equity reviews because they want to retain and use the results in their own process. Other benefits of hiring a compensation consultant include getting expert advice, avoiding legal problems and not having to spend time and money on training employees to do the work. Consultants often have special skills and knowledge related to setting salaries, such as experience in the types of jobs in your industry, knowledge of the local job market, familiarity with government regulations and use of specific software.

Disadvantages of hiring a compensation consultant

Although external compensation consultants can provide valuable advice about salary issues, there are a few disadvantages to using them. You may not be able to use the information in your own organization, especially if the information is proprietary to the consultant. You may also have less control over the process, as compared to doing the work internally. Finally, hiring a consultant can add a level of uncertainty to the process by introducing another opinion and set of assumptions into the decision-making.


Compensation is an important part of the human resources function in any organization, and it must be managed effectively to retain talented employees. Whether you choose to use internal staff or hire an external consultant, you must be careful not to make mistakes when setting salaries. The best way to ensure a fair and accurate process is to hire the best compensation consulting companies.