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Head of Pensions

Human Resources

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 24th Nov 2021
  • Salary: £51,799 to £60,022, with potential progression once in post to £78,265
  • REF: 98696
  • Closes: 17th January 2022
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time


Role holders at this level will be specialists exercising a substantial degree of independent professional responsibility and discretion. Individuals will typically be senior individual contributors who are the University’s leading experts in a technical, technological or specialised field. They will also make major contributions to the strategic plan for their own area to fit with the broader functional and University strategy; they may manage a significant specialist facility/service.

Department overview

The Central Staff Hub provides a range of generalist and specialist support to the University, including offering strategic direction and specialist advice for recruitment, operational HR, payroll and pensions.

Role Summary

As Head of Pensions, you will make a major contribution to the development and delivery of pensions strategy, ensuring it is aligned at all times with the University’s business strategy. Your remit will cover all aspects of pensions including financial management, policy development, and maintaining the highest standards of governance and administration.

You will need to draw on your experience of managing schemes in large, complex organisations, your in-depth knowledge of pensions and employment legislation, and experience of managing the financial aspects of pension schemes to be able to be successful in this role.

Main duties

Strategy and Expertise

• Make a major contribution to the development and delivery of the pensions strategy
• Providing expert authoritative advice across the University on any aspect of pension’s strategy and management. This will require you to:
• keep up to date with changes in pension legislation and the pensions landscape;
• develop and maintain excellent working relationships with relevant professional advisors to ensure the best advice is always received;
• analyse and model the potential impact on changes to the external landscape on the pension schemes offered by the University;
• identify and develop appropriate strategies and solutions to deliver required outcomes.
• Represent the University of Birmingham at external forums and workshops as appropriate.
• Proactively develop and maintain networks with similar Higher Education Institutions to share best practice, and with representative bodies to maintain your expertise and build this into policy and processes as appropriate.
• Undertake business analysis and utilise HR management information skilfully to provide cost/benefit analysis, support decision making and make recommendations on key issues. Influence University decisions through providing expertise on a wide range of people management matters and leading or participating in relevant working groups, committees and consultations.
• Influence University decisions through providing your pensions expertise, communicating complex information and leading or participating in relevant working groups, committees and consultations.
• Ensure that appropriate risk management processes are operational within own area of responsibility.
• As a member of the HR management team, ensure continuous improvement and development of the department’s deliverables and operating procedures.

Service Leadership, Management and Delivery

• Leadership and management of an internal Pensions Administration team; guide, motivate, and coach direct reports, prioritising workloads as necessary supporting them to develop and deliver services to quality standards aligned with the University’s requirements.
• Lead the team through periods of change, communicating a clear and positive vision and acting as a role model.
• Responsible for the management and delivery of all actions related to internal and external audits, and for the delivery of all reporting required for regulatory and management purposes.
• Accountable for developing and delivering communications/education processes to all employees to keep each individual aware of their pension choices and the value of the pension as part of their overall remuneration package.
• Develop a variety of reports to identify relevant information, patterns, and trends, in order to undertake analysis to inform decision making and monitor progress.
• Manage the contractual relationship with external suppliers.
• Support the governance of the pension schemes, including provision of Secretarial duties to the Board of Trustees either directly or through a third party, as is currently in place.
• Ensure that processes, policies and communications are fit for purpose and compliant with legislation and regulation, keeping them under review and development and deploying new solutions as required.


• Actively manages equality, diversity and inclusion through monitoring and evaluation and actively challenging unacceptable behaviour.
• Any other duties commensurate with the grade.

Core competencies/transferable skills

All postholders working at this level will be able to develop and demonstrate the following core competencies/transferable skills and will be expected to be flexible as required in supporting their department and wider University.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience

• Educated to degree level or equivalent qualification plus a relevant qualification and substantial work experience in pensions roles
• Authoritative and advanced technical expertise in own pensions specialism.
• Demonstrable professional development through involvement in a series of progressively more demanding and influential work roles, including working in a complex, multi-disciplinary organisation.
• Ability to exercise a substantial degree of independent professional responsibility and discretion.
• Ability to think strategically and develop a vision for the University of Birmingham’s pensions portfolio in the context of the University’s strategic and commercial direction.
• Substantial experience of working with pension scheme trustees and a range of professional advisors.
• Experience of working in partnership with senior decision-makers with demonstrable success of building good relationships and partnerships with key influencers.
• Up to date knowledge of UK pensions, payroll, tax and employment law (as relevant) and best practice approaches in these areas.
• Excellent planning organisation and analytical skills, including managing change and improvement projects.
• Experience of informal and/or formal consultation with excellent negotiating skills.
• Proven capabilities as a manager, with a flexible and inclusive management style.
• Strong customer and delivery focus, with the ability to manage a service to deliver to tight deadlines.
• Highly proficient IT skills, including the MS Office suite. You should be confident and able to quickly learn new IT skills and software packages as required.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to articulate technical pensions information in clear, well-structured reports and briefs.
• Ability to communicate highly sensitive and complex issues clearly and succinctly to managers and staff, sometimes in contentious situations.
• Experience of championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in own work area.
• Ability to monitor and evaluate the extent to which equality and diversity legislation, policies, procedures are applied.
• Ability to identify issues with the potential to impact on protected groups and take appropriate action.

Informal enquires toMonique Myers,M.Myers@bham.ac.uk

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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