Advert. No. 2020_0045
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.


The Human Resources Department, within the Directorate of Administration, supports staff located in Chile and Germany, and operates in both countries. It is currently undergoing an internal restructure to create an HR Operations Team and HR Business Partnering Team.


For the Operations Team, and based at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising a position of:

Payroll Officer


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Deadline 23/10/2020

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The main function of the role is to ensure the accurate and timely preparation and processing of part of the monthly payroll and support HR-related financial and statistical processes. This position complements a similar position based in Chile, and works in close cooperation with the Finance Department.

The selected candidate will have the following main duties and responsibilities:

  • Preparation of payroll data including input of payroll data and associated data (advances, overtime payments, retroactive payments, benefits and allowances...) which includes preparation and coordination of relevant exchange rates, the calculations of 'cost of living' payments and internal taxes;
  • Control and validation of the payroll;
  • Active maintenance of individual staff pay records;
  • Act as HR point of contact for payroll related queries and advice on financial matters related to payroll processes, health insurance, pension fund and so on;
  • Act as interface with external providers of relevant payroll-related services;
  • Preparation of the annual HR Department budget;
  • Preparation and posting of monthly reports to the health insurance and pension fund institutions and others as required;
  • In collaboration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) team, production of statistical reports and charts for internal and external stakeholders;
  • Undertake benchmarking research and studies as required;
  • Development of systems for standard reporting on key people indicators, and tracking monitoring mechanisms;
  • Documenting and updating of payroll processes / working practices;
  • Coordinating and supplying relevant input to the Internal/External Auditors;
  • Maintenance of the Organisation organigramme charts;
  • Other administrative duties as required including coverage and support in the absence of other Operations team members.

The above responsibilities are not exhaustive and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is essential.

Reports to:

Compensation and Benefits Team Leader.

Key Competences and Experience:

Proven relevant and recent experience, ideally in an international environment or intergovernmental organisation (IGO) is required.

Successful applicants for this position shall also possess the following:

Essential Competences and Experience

  • Proficiency in MS Office applications (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and especially Excel) and ERP systems;
  • Strong accounting/cost control and analysis skills;
  • Strong figure, statistical and analytical skills with attention to detail and accuracy a key element;
  • Ability to understand and apply a complex administrative rules and procedures framework;
  • Excellent organisational skills and service/result-oriented attitude;
  • Ability to work under pressure and respect strict deadlines;
  • Demonstrated accountability, reliability and flexibility;
  • Discretion and the ability to maintain strict confidentiality, together with a knowledge of data privacy protocols;
  • Ability to identify ways of improving processes.

Desirable Competences and Experience

  • Ability to rapidly understand and adapt to ESO specific context and environment;
  • User experience of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.


A full secondary education, and a higher (post-secondary) technical or administrative diploma ideally in the field of HR/Accounting or a business- related subject, or equivalent professional training.

Language Skills:

The position requires an excellent working knowledge of English (oral and written). Knowledge of German would be an advantage.

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.

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 organisational 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:

Garching near Munich, Germany.

Career Path: III


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating 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 name and contact details of a person familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter upon request. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Closing date for applications is 23 October 2020.

Interviews are expected to be held soon afterwards.

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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