SARAO is Hiring a SKA-Mid HR Lead


The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) is hiring a SKA-Mid HR lead on a permanent contract. The SKA-Mid HR lead will join the facility at Cape Town, Western Cape to lead the operational delivery of HR activities for the SARAO staff involved in the SKA-Mid collaboration and will form a critical link between the SKAO and SARAO teams to implement their respective HR Strategies. 

The successful candidate will also work as a core part of the wider SKAO and SARAO HR teams, led by their respective Head of HR. Due to the current stage of the SKA Mid project, the SKA-Mid HR lead role will initially involve a relatively high level of supporting leaders with recruitment, specifically, the initial stages of the recruitment process.

In addition, the SKA-Mid HR lead will lead and implement projects as directed by the SKA Mid telescope director, in line with SKAO organisational needs. Some of the HR activities include but are not limited to recruitment, onboarding and induction, change management, performance management, learning and development initiatives, dealing with issues at work, and coaching and development of people and leaders. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Work collaboratively with colleagues in SARAO and SKAO to ensure delivery relating to employee recruitment, placement, training, promotion, compensation, and employee management relations or other areas of personnel policy.
  • Work with the SKAO-employed HR Lead to provide a responsive, effective and innovative HR service for the SKAO/SARAO collaboration.
  • Advise the Telescope Director on implementing the local workforce plan and local attraction and recruitment strategy for SARAO employed staff.
  • Assists in resolving disputes by administering interactions between union, employer or other parties subject to the NRF conditions of employment.
  • Analyse the skills requirements within the collaboration and coordinate the execution of the personal development plans of employees and monitor the implementation of the workplace skills plan and reports accordingly.
  • Provide individuals and groups with information about career choices and assist individuals with self-development.
  • Advise individuals on employment opportunities, career choices and further education or training that may be desirable.

Key Requirements


  • Professionally qualified with a Bachelor’s Degree/BTech in Human Resources / Industrial Psychology / Social Science


  • Seven years experience of in providing substantial expert and generalist HR advice across the whole employment lifecycle that is consistent, accurate and considered.
  • Authoritative knowledge of the work practices, processes and procedures relevant to HR, including a broader awareness of high-tech organisations.
  • Detailed knowledge and understanding of systems and services related to HR and their varied applications.
  • Proven analytical and problem-solving capability.
  • Learning agility.
  • Extremely well planned, organised and have high attention to detail.
  • Proven communication, influencing and interpersonal skills.
  • Proven strengths in working collaboratively across geographical and cultural boundaries, with experience contributing to an inclusive and respectful culture.


  • Awareness of the current and future activities of the SKAO and SARAO.
  • Experience in high-tech organisations.
  • Project management skills gained through previous experience.


Client Service and Support

  • Apply specialist expertise and use judgement to make decisions where solutions are not obvious, to deliver professional services to meet the client’s requirements.
  • Generate original ideas and innovative solutions through the provision of specialist knowledge and advice as appropriate.
  • Identify additional service requirements or service shortfalls and coordinate the delivery of innovative solutions to maximise service quality, efficiency and continuity.
  • Ensure professional and quality service standards are maintained and applied within their area of activity.

Analysis and Reporting

  • Advise on the analysis and interpretation of data, identify trends and test solutions, source additional related information where appropriate, and report on progress, to support the resolution of issues/problems.
  • Manage, monitor and maintain records to meet both internal and external (e.g. legislative) requirements.

Planning and Organising

  • Plan and organise individuals with an appreciation of longer-term issues, ensuring plans complement and feed into the broader annual operational plans of the collaboration.

Finance/Resource Management

  • Monitor resources within HR activities to ensure maximum value is delivered for resources deployed.
  • Contribute to resource and budget planning within own area.
  • Take appropriate responsibility for the delivery of work to deadlines and agreed standards.

Relationships and Contacts

  • Be up to date on technical HR knowledge, including employment law and best practice developments in HR
  • Contact with other areas of the collaboration to develop new and improved processes and supporting systems.
  • Maintain external links with professional or specialist HR bodies or groups.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a comprehensive CV here before 21 August 2022. Furthermore, applicants should include a letter of motivation indicating their suitability for the position in their applications. In addition, the applicants must provide the names and contact details of at least three referees.

South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a challenging career and a competitive remuneration package commensurate with qualifications and experience. Also, the NRF is committed to employment equity and redress, and appointments to the position will be made in line with the NRF Employment Equity Plan. In addition, the NRF reserves the right not to make an appointment and will send correspondence to short-listed candidates only.

You can get more information regarding the opening here.

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