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Payroll Administrator

Payroll administrators process payroll information and determine pay and benefit entitlements for employees in organizations of all types and sizes.

  • Avg. Salary $57,019.00
  • Avg. Wage $29.92
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 5,700
  • In Demand Lower
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Payroll Clerks (1432) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Payroll Clerks (B532) 
  • 2011 NOC: Payroll clerks (1432) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Payroll Administrator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Payroll Clerks

Interest in compiling information for statistical reports, statements and summaries; in preparing T4 statements and other statements; and in maintaining records of employee attendance, leave and overtime


Interest in operating computerized systems to keep records and prepare and balance period-end reports


Interest in speaking with employees to provide information on payroll matters, benefit plans and collective agreement provisions

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 14, 2016

Payroll administrators reference, interpret, analyze and comply with federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations. They also must be knowledgeable about employment contracts, collective agreements, corporate policies and third-party contracts.

Duties and responsibilities vary depending on the size and nature of the organization, but in general, payroll administrators:

  • verify and process required documents when a new employee is hired
  • create and maintain database records of contact information, hours worked, pay, bonuses, commissions and other taxable and non-taxable benefits (for example, health and life insurance) for full-time, part-time and seasonal employees and contractors
  • prepare and verify pay statements that provide information about each employee's gross and net earnings, and statutory and non-statutory deductions for federal and provincial taxes, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, union dues and company benefit programs
  • comply with government remittance requirements and employment and labour standards legislation
  • create and analyze system-generated reports (for example, labour distribution, vacation) and resolve any errors or discrepancies
  • ensure that payments are made by electronic funds transfer or cheque
  • complete, verify and process the documentation required to administer leaves of absence, share savings, employment, health insurance and pension plans
  • process terminations, calculate termination or severance pay and prepare Records of Employment (ROEs)
  • perform year-end activities, such as assisting with regulatory annual filings, reconciling remittances and adjustments and processing tax slips
  • ensure procedures for safeguarding and releasing personal information comply with Freedom of Information and Privacy (FOIP) regulations, provincial privacy legislation and related company policies
  • provide information about tax regulations and respond to employee questions regarding statements, benefit plans and collective agreements
  • prepare payroll-related statistical reports, statements and summaries
  • prepare and balance period-end reports and reconcile issued payrolls to bank statements
  • communicate with internal clients and management in addition to third-party service providers (for example, payroll service agencies, group insurance carriers or government bodies).

Payroll administrators also may:

  • administer flexible work hours, wellness programs or other creative benefit programs
  • administer charitable donation or savings programs where employee contributions are deducted from their paycheques
  • research and present information about pay and benefits plans to senior managers.

In large organizations, payroll duties and responsibilities may be divided among several people. In small organizations, payroll administrators may have additional responsibilities related to human resources management (for more information, see the Human Resources Professional occupational profile).

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Payroll administrators work with computers in offices. Most work standard weekday office hours. Overtime may be required around specific periods (for example, month-end, year-end).

Working with firm deadlines and responding to complaints can be stressful.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Payroll administrators need the following characteristics:

  • care and accuracy when dealing with details
  • trustworthiness
  • good organizational skills
  • effective problem solving and decision making skills
  • ability to work independently and with others in a team environment
  • ability to work well under pressure and consistently meet deadlines
  • good verbal and written communication and customer service skills
  • ability to keep personal information about employees and others confidential
  • tact when dealing with sensitive employee issues
  • willingness and ability to keep up to date with evolving technology
  • strong aptitude for math.

They should enjoy using computer systems, and compiling, interpreting and providing information about payroll matters, benefit plans and collective agreement provisions.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Most employers require payroll administrators to have related post-secondary education or work experience, or a combination of both. Some employers require applicants to have a diploma or degree related to accounting, business administration, commerce, human resources, industrial relations or psychology.

Employers may require applicants for payroll administrator positions to be either certified by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) or willing to complete certification requirements within a specified period of time. To qualify for certification as a Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP), CPA members must have at least 1 year of work experience, have successfully completed an introductory accounting course (from a post-secondary school) and have completed CPA's Payroll Compliance Practitioner Certification courses. CPA courses include Payroll Compliance Legislation, Payroll Fundamentals 1 and Payroll Fundamentals 2. The courses are offered in Alberta by the following post-secondary schools:

Before enrolling in an education program, prospective payroll administrators should discuss their training options with potential employers or contact the CPA.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Academy of Learning - Brooks

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Alberta Business & Health Institute

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

Canford Institute of Technology

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care- Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care- Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care- Edmonton North

East-West College of Business & Technology

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Peerless Training Institute

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Payroll administrators are employed by all types of public and private sector organizations, and by payroll service providers that contract their services to organizations that do not have payroll departments.

In larger organizations, experienced payroll administrators may advance to supervisory or management positions. The Canadian Payroll Association offers a Certified Payroll Manager program that allows people already employed in the field to take courses online or through selected post-secondary institutions.

Payroll administrators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1432: Payroll clerks. In Alberta, 83% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the B532: Payroll Clerks occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 116 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.38 $37.34 $25.68 $25.48
Overall $21.00 $42.71 $29.92 $29.00
Top $25.00 $45.00 $32.85 $32.05

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Public Administration
Educational Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Accommodation & Food Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Wholesale Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Canadian Payroll Association website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 17, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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