Advert. No. 2019_0034
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive ground-based astronomical observatory. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries.

ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in northern Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor (home to ALMA and APEX), and the ESO Headquarters are located in Garching, near Munich, Germany.

At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, and will host and operate the southern array of the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the world's largest and most sensitive high energy gamma-ray observatory. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


Within the Directorate of Administration at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of the

Head of the Human Resources Department


Vacancy closed on 27/07/2019

Deadline 27/07/2019

The Human Resources (HR) Department supports the Organisation to maintain its excellence by recruiting and further developing staff members with the key competencies required for the realisation of its mission. The HR Department is a partner for all members of personnel (at present '700) providing advice and comprehensive HR services. ESO is an Intergovernmental Organisation meaning that national labor legislation is replaced by a set of internal staff rules and regulations, based on international standards and best practices, and which require constant monitoring and updating. As an Intergovernmental Organisation, ESO provides its own social security system.

With the support of the Director of Administration, the Head of HR is responsible for the development and modernisation of all aspects of ESO's HR policies. You will take the lead and together with the support of ESO Management, define and implement a Human Resources strategy that is adapted to ESO's current and future needs.

The HR Department will embrace the organisational culture of ESO; encompass the Human Resource strategy; focus on recruitment and retention; plan for change; provide for training and development; in an environment where health and safety are crucial.

You will lead the HR Department located in Garching and Santiago de Chile.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop a strategy for human resource management at ESO;
  • Position the HR Department within the Organisation as a strategic partner in staff related matters (incl. social security) and proactively contribute to the further strategic development of ESO's staff related policies, leading its implementation;
  • Lead the Human Resources Department, promoting the skills and competences of its members;
  • Strengthen the role of the Department as a facilitator in HR matters and a reliable partner, providing advice and service to all members of personnel, in a responsible and inclusive way;
  • Ensure equitable treatment and consistent application of HR policies throughout the Organisation;
  • Intermediate in the consultation and concertation processes with the International and Local Staff Representatives, building a trustful relationship;
  • Negotiate the collective bargaining agreement with the Local Staff Representatives in Chile;
  • Advise the Director General and the Directors' Team on staff related matters;
  • Prepare the annual and long-term budget of personnel costs in close collaboration with the Finance Department;
  • Develop and maintain close links with other international and intergovernmental organisations in HR strategic matters.

Reports to:

Director of Administration

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Proven professional experience in the management of human resources activities, including 5 years within a supervisory role relevant to this position
  • Proven experience in the area of strategic HR management, development and change management
  • Excellent management skills including communication and negotiation skills, ability to motivate and to establish a good team spirit, experience in conflict resolution
  • Proactive and solution orientated attitude
  • High integrity and reliability
  • Working experience in a multicultural and diverse environment

Desirable Competences and Experience, which are not mandatory, but considered an asset:

  • Working experience in an Intergovernmental Organisation
  • Experience in working in a technological or scientific environment


Masters Degree (MBA, Human Resources Management) or equivalent.

Language Skills:

Excellent level of English (working language). Knowledge of Spanish would be considered an asset.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and the possibility to place your child/children in daycare. An initial International Staff Member contract is offered for a fixed term duration of three years. There is a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany, with regular duty trips to Chile

Career Path: VII


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit ESO Home Page for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online via our ESO Recruitment Portal. Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV. Within your CV, please provide the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter upon request. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Deadline for applications is 27 July 2019.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

No nationality is in principle excluded, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Chile, irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

Contact us