Job Details

  • Reference number: UnitE220483
  • Province: Western Cape
  • Type of engagement: Permanent appointment
  • Posted: January 13th

Background to Position

Are you interested in joining the dynamic and innovative leadership team of a university that is dedicated to foregrounding and promoting an Employer of Choice approach? 

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is seeking to appoint its next Executive Director:HR for appointment as soon as possible. As a senior member of the university’s leadership team, you will be responsible for overseeing all people management strategies and operations at UCT. We invite applications from candidates who are experienced in managing the human resources of a large complex organisation, will enhance an Employer of Choice approach to the University, and has a passionate and innovative commitment to higher education. In particular, the university is looking for an Executive Director who will work in ways that promote an ethos of care and compassion to nurture an inclusive working environment that attracts, developsand retains suitably qualified and diverse staff.

The Executive Director is responsible for providing strategic direction to the institution for its Human Resources requirements through the development and implementation of an institution-wide human capital management strategy working closely with the University Executive and senior leadership group to strategically position UCT as an internationally recognised institution and an Employer of Choice. The Executive Director leads and manages the University’s HR department and services in alignment with the University’s Strategic Vision 2030

Job Description

UCT has devolved significant accountability and responsibility for line management and operational authority to the Deans and Executive Directors and other levels of line management of the faculties and administrative departments. In this regard, HR plays a strategic, advisory and support role to its clients, which include line management and staff members, to enable the execution of the aforementioned accountabilities and responsibilities through its client-centric model. The HR reporting structure may be found at HR also plays a key role in developing and maintaining sound stakeholder relationships with its clients, unions and other parties such as service providers. The Executive Director has oversight and accountability for the development and review of UCT’s HR strategy, service, structure and stakeholder relationships.

Key Responsibilities include:

  • Contribute to the development of the University’s Strategic Plan through the development, review and implementation of an institution-wide human capital management strategy working closely with the University Executive to strategically position UCT as an internationally recognised institution.
  • Participate fully at senior level in all the relevant governance, leadership and management structures of the university relevant to and /or assigned to the position including the university Council, Senate and Executive Leadership committees.
  • Assume full accountability and operational HR responsibility for the University.
  • Lead, direct and manage the HR department, ensuring good governance, best practice HR and systems functioning including digitizing the HR environment for process optimisation.
  • Develop and maintain sound stakeholder relationships with internal and external constituencies/partners.
  • Represent the University internally and externally on various appropriate HR fora. 

    The 2022 annual cost of employment, including benefits, is appropriate to the Senior Executive level. 

    Inherent Criteria


    • NQF 9 level qualification in Human Resources or related disciplines. 
    • Experience engaging at Board/ Councillevel in organisations of comparable scale and complexity in the private or public sectors with a minimum of at least 15 years’ relevant experience in Human Resources as well as appropriate senior management experience, at a minimum of 5 years.
    • A proven track record of strategic leadership and people management.
    • Experience of managing the broad range of HR disciplines and people across multiple organisational units and organisational change.
    • Ability to participate and thrive in a leadership environment which can present multiple demands at any time.
    • A strong communicator and influencer at an individual and collective level.


      • An understanding of the South African Higher Education environment will be a strong advantage.

        • Member/registration with professional authority. 

        Knowledge, Skills and Attributes and demonstratable excellence and transformation:

        • Strategic thinking, conceptual and writing skills that facilitate the development of vision-aligned HR strategies and the achievement of strategic, tactical and operational results.
        • Ability to understand business imperatives within a large and complex organisation and to translate these into operational HR strategies and plans.
        • Leading, influencing and inspiring clients and the HR team to deliver on the UCT HR strategies.
        • Interpersonal, communication (written and oral) and presentation skills.
        • Stakeholder relationship management and ability to relate to and work effectively with a wide range of constituencies and partners in differing circumstances and contexts.
        • Ability to make data-driven decisions, including a solid grounding in data analysis techniques.
        • Ability to effectively assess and resolve complex problems that require substantial, in-depth analysis to develop innovative solutions for the organisation.
        • Personal leadership, accountability and values-driven to ensure implementation of sound, fair and consistent best practice HR Risk Mitigation Approach.
        • Organisational skills to manage multiple priorities.
        • Financial resource management including budgeting, planning and reporting. 

        Application Requirement

        To apply, please e-mail the below documents in a single pdf file:

        • UCT Application Form (download at
        • Cover letter, and
        • Curriculum Vitae (CV) 

        Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line. 

        An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete.

        Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will be required to undergo assessments.

        “UCT is a designated employer and is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity, and redress in achieving its equity targets in accordance with the Employment Equity Plan of the University and its Employment Equity goals and targets. Preference will be given to candidates from the under-represented designated groups. Our Employment Equity Policy is available at UCT reserves the right not to appoint.

        The University reserves the right to extend the closing date if deemed necessary and reserves the right to make no appointment.

        HOW TO APPLY:

        Please email your CV to

        About University of Cape Town

        The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university, and is one of Africa's leading teaching and research institutions. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys. The College had a small tertiary-education facility that grew substantially after 1880, when the discovery of gold and diamonds in the north – and the resulting demand for skills in mining – gave it the financial boost it needed to grow. The College developed into a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900, thanks to increased funding from private sources and the government.