Human Resources Officer (Projects Focused) - London

Part-time Position: 24 hours/week;

Contract: Fixed term, three month contract;

Start date: ASAP (with a view to extend if position approved in annual planning);

Closing date for applications: Thursday, 3 September 2015, 8 am (London time);

Salary: £34,656.99


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a leading international independent medical relief organisation, dedicated to providing expert medical relief to vulnerable populations at times of conflict or disaster. In over 70 countries worldwide, MSF provides both life-saving emergency relief and longer-term assistance to make healthcare services available to the most vulnerable or excluded communities.

MSF-UK is one of 23 offices and operational centres (OCs) in Europe, America, Asia and Australasia, pooling funding, expertise and staff for field operations. There are currently 6 departments within the UK office (fundraising, communications, finance, programmes, medical (called the Manson Unit (MU), HR) and an office in Dublin.

MSF's aim is to provide impartial assistance, on the basis of need alone, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, creed or political affiliation. To maintain its independence from political interference, MSF relies on donations from individuals around the world for at least 50% of its income. This private funding gives MSF the freedom to respond to the greatest needs as fast as possible.

As medical professionals, MSF field staff have a duty to try and protect their patients from violence and abuse. MSF often chooses to speak out about gross violations of humanitarian law against civilians in conflict, refugees, unaccompanied children and other vulnerable groups, in an attempt to bring abuse to world attention.

The mandate of the UK section has traditionally been to provide technical, human resources, financial and communications support to field operations. That support has now evolved towards taking direct, medical and operational responsibility for specific project development. MSF-UK’s income for the year ending 31 Dec 2010 was in excess of 25 million, over 80% of which was spent directly on MSF’s overseas field programmes.  The UK office currently has around 50 full time staff working in the London office and placed over 200 medical & non-medical staff to work in projects in the field during 2010. The staff in the UK office are dynamic, enthusiastic, committed to the aims of MSF and not afraid of “mucking-in” when necessary.

Human Resources Department

The HR Function is responsible for attracting, selecting, developing and retaining high-quality medical and non-medical volunteers for MSF operations and MSF UK & Ireland office staff.

The department provides HRM support to both the MSF UK field staff and MSF UK and Ireland staff. It is actively involved in the international MSF HRM forum to promote best practice in the management and support of field staff in general and to provide more equal opportunities for UK field workers in particular. The department plays a pivotal role in building up and maintaining relationships with the UK medical community and networking with medical institutions.

In addition the department is part of a larger ‘virtual HR department’ for Operational Centre Amsterdam (OCA) which comprises MSF UK, MSF Germany and MSF Holland. Together the department works in partnership on all aspects of field related HRM.

The department has ambitions to find innovative and effective solutions to MSF’s human resourcing challenges. We need an energetic, creative, people person to build effective and long term links with a variety of professional institutions as well  developing and working on ground breaking in house projects. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the development of these projects and have an impact on meeting the new HR needs of MSF field operations for teams facing new technical and security challenges. 

Human Resources Officer

Reports to:  HR Manager Field staffing

Job Purpose:

  • Provide the MSF movement with the right candidates for field positions in sufficient quantities and at the right time
  • To work in close collaboration with the HROs and HR manager (field staffing) on HR projects identified in the annual plan, to increase the number of specific professions and skilled individuals recruited by MSF UK for MSF internationally.
  • Develop comprehensive and effective networks with relevant key stakeholders and influential professionals.
  • To independently nurture and develop effective relationships with key institutions to develop projects which enable the attraction and retention of key professionals to work for MSF.
  • When the need arises assist the team with recruiting, retaining, developing and placing medical and non-medical professionals for MSF field programmes
  • To provide HR advice and support to MSF field staff throughout their involvement with MSF

Key responsibilities:

  • Contributes to the development of and implements the integrated recruitment strategy
  • Plans and participates in a variety of recruitment activities in line with the recruitment strategy and the annual plan
  • Keeps abreast of relevant labour market trends in the UK and Ireland and advises on practical implications for MSF
  • Keeps abreast of the HR needs in operational centres and adjusts recruitment and selection activities accordingly
  • Liaises closely with Services team to be informed of system and process changes as well as ensure expatriates are fully supported during the mission cycle
  • Liaises effectively with relevant staff in the OCs on demand and supply issues, reflecting on changes and their implications
  • Establishes and maintains effective relationships with relevant professional institutions and other organisations with an eye on recruitment and retention in the immediate and long term
  • Is the focal point within the HR team for identified projects from the annual plan e.g talent management / learning and development and leads these projects energetically and collaboratively.
  • Develops relationships with professional bodies and relevant organisations in order to mutually increase appropriate knowledge and aid retention
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with HR staff in operational centres
  • Actively participates in working groups addressing specific HR issues within MSF-UK, OCA and the movement.
  • Networks with colleagues in other UK-based NGOs to share ideas and to promote good practice
  • Liaises with relevant staff in other departments re the organisation of recruitment and donor support activities
  • Provides content for the development of appropriate recruitment material

As required:

  • Carries out appropriate and timely selection of suitable candidates, ensuring sufficient availability of candidates in the pool to meet operational needs
  • Matches available candidates with suitable vacancies, balancing organisational and individual needs
  • Maintains regular contact with individual expatriates before, during and after deployment in order to provide HR support and advice
  • Deals with disciplinary and grievance procedures related to staff in his/her pool
  • Briefs departing and debriefs returning field staff in order to learn from their experiences and to offer them practical support (re-integration, career evolution and future missions)
  • Advises on and ensures learning and development needs of individuals are met in order to meet operational needs and aid retention as well as collectively monitors learning and development budget with other HR Officers and HR Manager Field Staffing
  • Contributes actively to the talent management programme by identifying talent and promoting their development and retention
  • Acts as contact person with family in case of security incidents and/or evacuation. This includes shared responsibility with colleagues for the on call HR mobile
  • Provide support and guidance when required to volunteers, work experience placements or interships within the HR department

Essential experience, skills and behaviours:

  • Field experience with MSF (or MSF office experience in a field HR role)
  • Experience in specific HR projects e.g. talent management
  • Interest in HR (qualification not necessary)
  • Enjoys and has the ability to create networks and deliver innovative projects
  • Self starter
  • Presentation skills
  • Understanding of labour markets
  • Familiar with (UK) employment law
  • Excellent inter-personal, negotiation, networking and communication skills
  • Strong organisational and prioritising skills and the ability to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, unpredictable and demanding environment
  • Flexible in terms of time as job requires occasional overtime as well as willingness and ability to do ensuing administration (self-servicing), work in a variety of locations and job tasks as required
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Commitment to aims and values of Médecins Sans Frontières

Desirable skills and behaviours:

  • Medical or paramedical background
  • Knowledge of French or Spanish

Application checklist

Please check you have included the following documents in your application email to by 8am on Thursday, 3 September 2015:

Please ensure you state clearly which job you are applying for.

Recruitment timetable

Closing date for applications: Thursday, 3 September 2015, 8 am (London time)

Interviews: Monday 7  September to Thursday 10 September

Start date: ASAP