What are the most popular payroll job titles? I reviewed 30 of the most searched-for by candidates (and employers!) to find out. This is the latest chapter in Ongig’s series called Job Titles: The Definitive Guide.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • The top 10 most-searched-for payroll related job titles — A column chart of the top 10 payroll titles candidates search for on Google.
  • 5 payroll job titles and descriptions — A list of the top 5 payroll position titles and descriptions employers request.
  • Brands who use these top job titles on their career page, Indeed, or LinkedIn.
  • The answer to what does a payroll specialist do? — The most-searched payroll job title by candidates AND employers.

Note: Payroll related job titles usually fall into the HR department. We listed some of them in our blog on The Top 40 Job Titles in Human Resources. For the purpose of this article, I focus on job titles for payroll only.

The Top Payroll Titles Candidates Search For

Below is a list of the top 10 payroll job titles candidates search for on Google (source: ahrefs).


I found this by measuring # of searches for “[Payroll Job Title] Jobs” — it’s fair to assume most of those queries are by candidates.

The Top Payroll Positions Employers Need to Fill

While candidates search for the 10 jobs above, employers care most about these top 5 payroll titles and descriptions:

  • Payroll Specialist
  • Payroll Manager
  • Payroll Clerk
  • Payroll Administrator
  • Payroll Processor

I got this data using ahrefs and plugging in “Name of Payroll Job Title” and the phrase “Job Description” — then measuring the number of Google queries per month for each. It’s not perfect — but it’s fair to assume these searches are by employers looking to write a payroll job description.

Here are 5 payroll job titles most-searched by employers, along with:

  • payroll job descriptions and duties
  • examples of brands using each title
  • the # of searches per month on Google for each

Payroll Specialist

What does a payroll specialist do? A payroll specialist works in a company’s accounting department to manage all aspects of timesheet and payroll processing. The key skills of a payroll specialist are accuracy and timeliness. The role includes:

  • maintaining employee salary databases
  • managing company budget and expenses
  • coordinating with other departments, managers and employees to improve payroll systems

Brands like eBay and ZipRecruiter use this payroll job title.

# of job title searches per month: 700

Payroll Manager

A payroll manager is a finance and human resources business professional. A payroll position description for payroll manager might include these duties:

  • preparing and distributing all aspects of employee payments
  • maintaining payroll records and calculating taxes
  • balancing payroll accounts
  • providing support to a payroll team
  • creating payroll procedures and policies
  • providing training to their team

Brands like Gymboree and SurveyMonkey use this payroll job title.

# of job title searches per month: 400

Payroll Clerk

PayrollcClerk is one of the most common entry level payroll job titles. A Payroll Clerk (sometimes called a payroll assistant) performs a range of supportive duties. Their main focus is on payroll processing and data entry. A payroll clerk:

  • pays close attention to details
  • presents a good understanding of math and computer skills
  • distributes paychecks and statements to managers
  • answers questions from employees and vendors 

Brands like Costco and United Airlines use this payroll job title.

# of job title searches per month: 350

Payroll Administrator

A payroll administrator assists employees who have issues with their pay or need to change their records. A payroll administrator also provides information to employees about salaries and benefits. Other duties include:

  • issuing payments
  • auditing and processing taxes (or other deductions)
  • keeping organized data record

Brands like Marriot Hotels and Netflix use this payroll job title.

# of job title searches per month: 250

Payroll Processor

A payroll processor validates employee work hours and calculates wages. They ensure employees are paid accurately and might also deal with mistakes or complaints by following up with employees. In many organizations, the payroll processor creates and maintains payroll information for all employees.

Brands like Apex Systems and The Walt Disney Company use this payroll job title.

# of job title searches per month: 100

Why I wrote this?

This research on payroll position titles supports Ongig’s mission to transform job descriptions, and we want to help you optimize your own job titles. Check out Ongig.com to learn more.


  1. Learn About Being a Payroll Manager, What does a payroll manager do? (by Indeed)
  3. What Does a Payroll Clerk Do? Find Out If You Need One (by Robert Half)
  4. Job Duties of a Payroll Clerk (by Sam Amico)
  5. PAYROLL ADMINISTRATOR What They Do (by Zippia)
  6. What Is a Payroll Processor (by ZipRecruiter)

by in Job Titles