Advert. No. 2021_0017
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 in the Directorate of Administration is committed to supporting ESO to deliver its strategic objectives by providing a high quality, comprehensive service to its staff and management. The Department has recently been reorganised to group HR operations activities and HR business partnering / policy / employee relations activities.


Due to a forthcoming temporary leave of absence, the Human Resources Department, at ESO's Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, is advertising the busy and varied position of:

Human Resources Advisor

Parental leave coverage


Vacancy closed on 31/07/2021

Deadline 31/07/2021

The HR Advisor will be responsible for, and work closely with, their assigned Directorates to deliver services that support business operations and excellence. The postholder acts as the recruitment partner and trusted advisor to staff and managers on all HR matters in the employee life-cycle. As part of the new HR business partnering group within the Department, they also participate in cross organizational projects and initiatives for the continuous improvement and development of ESO's HR policies and services.

The HR Advisor has to proactively develop, maintain and manage working relationships with responsible Directors, managers and staff across the Organisation, as well as foster collaboration and good team working with close colleagues.

This is an excellent opportunity to work in an Intergovernmental Organisation which operates in a distinctive way from the private or national public sector, to gain valuable experience in a dynamic multi-cultural environment, and within a team that operates as one team between Germany and Chile across different time zones.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Promote and support excellence in Human Resources Management in the Organisation by providing HR guidance and support to management and staff based on the ESO policies, Staff Rules and Regulations, and best professional practices;
  • Build and maintain close working relations with assigned Directorates in an advisory capacity, assisting managers to deliver their priorities from a Human Resources perspective e.g. successful induction, performance management, resource planning, work-life balance, talent management;
  • Plan, organize and participate in recruitment campaigns for assigned areas;
  • Coordinate with Learning and Development Specialists to promote continuous professional development in assigned areas;
  • Work in close collaboration with the HR Operations Team to support the execution of activities related to compensation and benefits, payroll, travel, health, family and expat support services;
  • Work closely with HR Advisor peers supporting other Directorates, both at the Headquarters in Germany and in Chile, to ensure a consistent HR service-orientated approach across the Organisation;
  • Lead and/or support HR related projects / initiatives and assist in the rollout of new policies to ensure a smooth transition for management and staff;
  • Actively participate in other organisational-wide initiatives concerning e.g. diversity awareness, health and well-being.

Duties and responsibilities are not limited to the above, and a flexible approach and willingness to adapt is required.

Reports to:

Head of Human Resources

Key Competences and Experience

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Proven 'generalist' professional experience in the field of HR, including recruitment activities, obtained within an Intergovernmental Organisation or other internationally diverse / complex, public or private sector organisation;
  • Ability to handle ambiguous, contentious and complex HR matters confidently by identifying the key issues, examining options, and providing recommendations for the best way ahead;
  • Knowledge and competence in interpreting and applying HR legislation and best practices, sound judgement, and ability to find pragmatic solutions within the scope of an internal legal framework;
  • Self-starter - ability to work independently within an international and multi-cultural environment involving diverse stakeholders, including ability to build and manage effective working relationships;
  • Positive and committed-team player with confidence to proactively share experience, guidance and ideas for improvement and future developments within the Department;
  • Shows continuous learning orientation;
  • Resilient and calm - demonstrated ability to manage a high and complex workload involving multiple tasks, showing effective prioritization and time management skills;
  • Ability to produce clear, concise written communications, including drafting formal letters containing procedural/legal aspects.

Desirable Competences and Experience:

  • Advanced user of MS Office and knowledge of HR- ERP systems;
  • Knowledge and expertise in modern recruitment techniques and implementing / promoting diversity initiatives an asset.


Essential Educational Level:

  • Bachelor degree in the field of Human Resources, business administration or law. Also accepted:- another degree, accompanied by post-graduate certification in Human resources / or equivalent professional HR experience.

Desirable Educational Level:

  • CIPD qualified or membership of similarly recognized HR professional body (or working towards membership);
  • Evidence of continual professional HR development.

Language skills:

The position requires an excellent command of the English language both oral and written, (writing skills are tested as part of the interview process). A working knowledge of Spanish and/or German is 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 day-care where applicable. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment (

ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance ( between their professional and private life. ESO is also committed to offering family-friendly support (, creating a work environment and policies which allow staff to balance their professional and private responsibilities through flexible working arrangements and financial support for families.

In connection with its operational needs as described, the contract is offered for a fixed-term duration of two years and is subject to successful completion of a probation period.

Duty Station:

The duty station of the post will be Garching near Munich, Germany.

Career Path: IV


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating intergovernmental 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 31 July 2021.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

ESO has established diversity as an important value of the Organisation, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment and is actively seeking to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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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