what is a payroll administrator?

As a payroll administrator, you work in an organisation's human resources or accounts department. You make sure every employee receives accurate pay on time. Since you oversee all activities associated with payroll management systems, your job includes administrative duties. For instance, you collect all the personal information of employees and the hours worked in every payroll cycle. After collecting the data, you organise, tabulate and use it to calculate the compensation package for the week or month based on the company's hourly rates or salary policy.

Most experts working in payroll departments need a finance and accounting degree or industry certification in payroll. You also need computation skills and attentiveness to details to avoid making mistakes during the calculations and allocation of salaries.

As a payroll administrator, you work alongside human resource professionals in various business sectors, including IT, retail, sales and marketing or construction. When working in a small organisation, your duties include other human resource functions like hiring employees or training and development. In large companies, you will work alongside other human resource professionals and payroll specialists. Hence, your role involves handling payroll matters only. When working for a human resource consultancy, you work with various companies that outsource payroll instead of focusing on a specific company.

Would working as a payroll administrator suit your exceptional mathematics skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a payroll administrator role.


payroll administrator jobs

payroll administrator salary

According to National Careers, the median salary of a payroll administrator is £15,000 per year for entry-level positions. Experienced payroll administrators receive a compensation package of over £28,000 annually. The salary structure varies depending on the company and the industry.

Apart from the base salary, some employers offer additional benefits, including medical insurance and various allowances. When you work overtime, your hourly rates will be higher than regular rates. Some companies also award yearly bonuses and rewards for top performance.

how to increase your salary as a payroll administrator

As a payroll administrator, your compensation package is influenced by personal factors like education and experience and external factors like the employer and location. Employers are willing to pay premium rates for the right experience and education. If you have a degree and additional certifications, your take-home salary will be higher. Your years of experience also influence your transferrable skills, and employers always pay more for additional experience. You can increase your salary by attending training for other certifications or going for internships to improve your working knowledge.

The size of a company also impacts your earnings. If the company has limited resources, your salary may be lower. However, working for multinationals and big organisations guarantees higher pay due to job complexity. Companies in urban areas also tend to pay more due to the higher demand for payroll administrators.



types of payroll administrators

Payrolls administrators can be junior payroll specialists or lead administrators, depending on the size of the company and the roles performed.

  • junior payroll administrator: as a junior payroll administrator, you perform the bulk of the administrative tasks in the payroll department. For instance, you verify staff information and working hours before computing their salaries. You also disburse the salaries and handle tax deductions according to the statutory requirements. You can work with a few other payroll specialists and report to the lead administrator.
  • lead payroll administrator: as the lead payroll administrator, you supervise other payroll specialists and organise work schedules. You also audit payroll reports and deal with salaries for higher managers in the organisation. Sometimes, you also formulate payroll policies for organisations. 
  • external payroll administrator: when you work for an HR consultancy, you perform payroll activities for various companies. Your job is to calculate your client's payroll and statutory deductions without visiting their premises.


working as a payroll administrator

Becoming a payroll administrator involves processing employee salaries and other administrative duties. Read on to discover more about a payroll administrator's typical tasks and work schedules.



education and skills

You can become a payroll administrator via the following routes:

  • college: you can join the profession through an introductory course in payroll and bookkeeping from a college. Some courses to consider are Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping or Payroll. Some people opt for a T-Level accounting certificate and work towards further qualifications through part-time studies or apprenticeships. You can also pursue certifications from The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.
  • apprenticeship: some of the apprenticeships available in the role include advanced payroll assistant and higher payroll assistant manager. You need at least 4 GCSEs for apprenticeships.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills and competencies for payroll administrators include:

  • problem-solving skills: as a payroll administrator, you handle multiple issues relating to compliance, taxes and miscalculations. You need exceptional problem-solving skills to deal with these issues logically and competently. You should also anticipate problems that could arise.
  • computer and software proficiency: as a payroll administrator, you use various software to record employee data, record work hours and process payroll. Proficiency in using payroll-related software and computer skills makes your work easier.
  • mathematical skills: you will excel in the role if you are good with numbers. You need exceptional numerical skills to handle complex data, numbers and calculations. Maths aptitude also helps you avoid mistakes when calculating deductions and preparing tax reports.
  • organisational skills: as a payroll administrator, you have many tasks to complete for every pay cycle. Organisational skills help you stay on schedule with employees' pay and meet tax deadlines to avoid penalties.

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Randstad employer brand photo, internal, people, consultants, branch, branches


FAQs about working as a payroll administrator

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