Advert. No. 2020_0028
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.


In the course of a reorganization within the HR Department, of which you will play a key part in the successful delivery, and based at its Vitacura office in Santiago, Chile, ESO is advertising a new position of:

Deputy Head of Human Resources


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Deadline 15/08/2020

In this role, you will have responsibility for delivery of all HR operations for Germany and Chile, managing a small team based across both locations. In addition to HR operations you will be involved in HR projects and manage relationships with stakeholders based in Chile. You will also deputise for the Head of Human Resources in their absence.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To organise and manage the HR Operations Unit within the HR Department covering Chile and Germany;
  • To deliver effective high-quality HR operations services and support for ESO, primarily in the area of compensation and benefits (i.e. pay and reward, allowances, pensions, social security), travel, health, family/staff/expat support services;
  • To provide analysis on the application of ESO Rules and Regulations in all areas of responsibility;
  • To ensure compliance with ESO Rules and Regulations in all areas of responsibility;
  • To administer staff employment contracts;
  • To coordinate HR budget submissions;
  • To coordinate regular reports on HR operations and monitor progress against key result areas;
  • To provide advice and guidance on workforce changes including reorganisation and deployment matters;
  • To support HR processes for the review of conditions of employment;
  • To provide statistics, data and research to support the development and updating of HR policy;
  • To participate in collective bargaining and employee relations processes as required;
  • To regularly review HR administrative processes to ensure they continue to be fit for purpose and update as necessary;
  • To review HR requirements of the ESO Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP system) and follow development of its HR modules to improve efficiency;
  • To be responsible for the maintenance, review and development of the HR Intranet web pages;
  • To manage relationships with providers of HR operations-related service contracts and be responsible for the definition, implementation, maintenance and renewal of existing and new contracts;
  • To represent the HR Department at external meetings and Committees as required, advising and preparing reports in connection with HR matters;
  • To manage relationships with stakeholders based in Chile;
  • To manage and provide input for HR projects;
  • To deputise for the Head of Human Resources.

Reports to:

Head of Human Resources

Key Competences and Experience:

The successful applicant will be a confident self-starter, and have proven HR operations skills including ten years of experience, with a good track record of team management.

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Relevant and recent experience acquired ideally within the HR department of an international organisation or other internationally diverse / complex, public or private sector organisation;
  • Evidence of knowledge and competence in interpreting and applying compensation and benefits rules and policy;
  • Knowledge and experience of supervising payroll systems, budgeting, general control and systems-based processes;
  • Knowledge of health and travel sectors;
  • Proven experience of managing service providers and the management of contracting requirements;
  • Knowledge and practical experience of ERP systems;
  • Knowledge and practical experience of HR administration process improvement, with the confidence to challenge established ways of working and evolve new practices;
  • Experience of change management and successful management of HR projects;
  • Excellent analytical, numerical and problem-solving skills;
  • Proven people / team management and people development abilities;
  • Resilient, with ability to manage a high workload and prioritise own and team activities to meet deadlines;
  • Excellent communication (written and oral), presentation, persuasion and negotiating skills;
  • Demonstrated integrity and ethical values.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Experience of employee relations management;
  • Knowledge of pension schemes and pension administration matters;
  • Evidence of ability to develop excellent working relationships with team members and colleagues in different geographical locations/time zones.


Degree or higher level education, preferably in a relevant subject such as HR, business administration, or law. Evidence of continuous professional development in HR e.g. in management skills, HR policy and practice, pay and reward.

Language Skills:

An excellent command of written and spoken English is essential. A good working knowledge of Spanish is also required.

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.

The contract is for a fixed-term duration of three years and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. There is a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organizational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit Please note that the contract policy and in particular the regulations concerning fixed-term and indefinite contracts are currently under review which may lead to changes in the contractual conditions applicable to this position.

Duty Station: Santiago de Chile, Chile.

Within the role, there will be periodic travel to ESO Observatory sites in Chile. For the induction, initial training and thereafter as required, there will also be regular travel to Garching near Munich, Germany.

Career Path:

V/VI Appointment based on experience.


If you are interested in helping to lead, shape, and modernize the HR department of an intergovernmental organisation working in exciting frontline science and technology, and in a stimulating and challenging international environment, please visit for further details.

Applicants are invited to apply online at 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 15 August 2020.

The selection process is expected to start in September 2020. It will include a first-round video interview, written assessment as well as final panel interview.

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.

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