HR Business Partner (Fixed Term)

The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres. If you're looking for a new challenge and would like excellent benefits, extensive learning opportunities and a stimulating working environment in return for your skills and contribution, there could be a job here for you.

Are you looking for an exciting and challenging role within an inspiring, world-leading organisation? Do you want to contribute to our mission to create a more sustainable economy?

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is a globally influential institute within the University of Cambridge working to activate leadership and transform economies for people, nature and climate.

Our HR Team is an exceptional group of experts embedded within the Institute to support impact delivery. People are CISL's greatest asset and, through our HR team's expertise, we seek to attract and retain the best talent to drive forward impact.

You will act as our Institute's HR Business Partner while the current postholder is seconded elsewhere in the University. This role is fixed term until 31st December 2025, full time on a hybrid working basis with at least 2-3 days in our award-winning central Cambridge office.

You will lead and manage CISL's internal HR function, which includes:

  • Helping refine and deliver CISL's HR strategy, which requires proven expertise on:
    • a. Effective and efficient organizational design
    • b. Identifying and implementing strategies to acquire, develop and retain talent including learning, development and long-term skills needs

  • Overseeing day-to-day "business as usual function", ensuring the HR team's resourcing, capabilities and delivery meets required standards.
  • Leading directly on complex cases associated with employees (e.g. general performance, sickness absence and/or grievances) and acting as the main point of contact for the central University on such issues
  • Collaborating and engaging with senior leaders across the business, coaching on how to deal with HR issues encouraging empowerment
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to align HR practices, policies, and culture during periods of organisational change
  • Ensuring the resourcing, development and performance of direct repots in line with the Institute's strategy.

The role supports our Cambridge activities and also limited companies in South Africa and Belgium operated by CISL on behalf of the University

Key skills and experience:

  • Degree level qualification or equivalent experience; CIPD Level 7 is desirable
  • Ability to think and act strategically, create insights from various data sources and previous experience
  • Commercial and financial awareness - understanding external market, performance and business drivers, and internal operational drivers and stakeholders
  • Ability to apply judgement, creativity and flexibility to generate new approaches and solve complex problems
  • Ability to collaborate with, challenge and influence others, including more senior colleagues and stakeholders, to achieve optimal outcomes
  • Significant experience at business partner/senior manager level within a high-volume, fast-paced, customer-focussed environment
  • Experience of proactively advising managers on a full range of people matters (e.g. discipline, grievance, performance management, sickness absence, recruitment & retention)
  • Experience of working successfully in a unionised environment
  • Identifying existing and new risks and opportunities, and managing change to optimise outcomes

Benefits of working at CISL include:

  • Competitive rates of pay with automatic service-related pay progression and annual cost of living increases
  • Generous annual leave allowance of 41 days paid leave (including bank holidays)
  • Flexible and hybrid working opportunities
  • Generous maternity, adoption and shared parental leave entitlement and other family friendly schemes (e.g. workplace nurseries and salary exchange schemes for childcare)
  • An auto-enrolment pension scheme, with a generous employer contribution
  • Travel benefits and retail discounts at over 2,000 local and national stores
  • Schemes to support with relocation / the provision of accommodation

We welcome applications from individuals who wish to be considered for part-time working or other flexible working arrangements.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact

Please quote reference EN40295 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Apply now

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