Group Director, People and Culture

Auckland, New Zealand
28 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
11 Apr 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • Join New Zealand's university of opportunity
  • Develop and support AUT's resilient, diverse and innovative workforce
  • Full-time, 4-year renewable role based at AUT's City Campus

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is dynamic and vibrant with a hugely diverse body of students, staff and partners. As one of the world's top 50 young universities, New Zealand's newest and second highest ranked, AUT is the university of opportunity where all students with talent and potential have the chance to succeed. We have a clear vision expressed through the cornerstone Ki Uta Ki Tai Student Success Plan which will ensure a shared, cohesive approach for the University to achieve its commitments and ambitions for student success, inclusion and belonging.  We are a socially driven university with equity and excellence central to our purpose and actions, and we offer a stimulating teaching and research environment with strong connections to government, business and industry.  AUT has over 27,000 students across our three Auckland teaching campuses.

AUT is a stimulating place to work, employing a wide range of diverse people who work across a variety of workplaces. Our People and Culture team supports over 3,000 academic and professional employees (which grows during peak times across the academic year) and our focus is on embedding behaviours and skills that define the expectations of AUT's people: everything we do is about creating the best employee experience possible for AUT staff. People and Culture has been steadily maturing as a function over recent years, including the implementation of a future-focussed HR service delivery model which has centred on improved staff experiences and organisational development.

Become AUT's new Group Director of People and Culture!

A unique opportunity has arisen for an inspirational and empathetic senior HR leader to become the head of AUT's People and Culture, and make a real difference at a critical time for the University. As a member of the University's executive, you will work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and his dynamic wider senior leadership team as we embrace transformative post-COVID opportunities to take AUT forward, alongside managing important HR challenges still ahead.

This is an exciting, varied, fast moving and evolving role in which you will both strategise and operationalise initiatives and ideas. Some key focus areas include:

  • Provide authentic, positive and caring people leadership to People and Culture staff as the directorate continues its growth of proactive, service-orientated support and development for the University's people.
  • Support AUT's transformation into a Te Tiriti-led organisation, including a pivotal role ensuring People & Culture delivers tikanga Māori capability and knowledge uplift to staff.
  • Become a trusted partner to our diverse range of senior University leaders across the faculties and directorates, as you understand and support their various staff priorities and issues.
  • Work closely with the People and Culture leadership team to ensure our workforce is fit for current and future challenge; and that people strategies and approaches to attract, develop, support and retain talent in the business are aligned to business needs.
  • Monitor and assess People and Culture progress towards the achievement of strategic directorate and University goals, whilst achieving a working balance between quality staff-centric services and continued transformative change.
  • Provide expert advice on emerging HR issues and market trends and future impacts on our workforce.
  • Provide effective leadership of union relationships, negotiations, and employment relations advice. Maintain effective relations with union representatives and employer organisations.

For further details, please do review the detailed candidate information handbook available within this advertisement (which includes the position description).

You will lead around 45 highly capable and committed People and Culture staff. This includes six direct reports; five of whom are Directors leading awesome teams specialising in HR Business Partnering, Talent and Culture, Employment Relations, HR Shared Services and Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Visionary and aspirational, the successful candidate will embody trustworthiness, kindness, confidence and embrace AUT's values, mission and strategy-led leadership approach. You will value diversity and work inclusively. An authentic, collegial and positive leadership style is essential. You will be recognised as a highly collaborative and influencing future-focused leader who listens; whilst enabling innovation and encouraging proactivity to embrace AUT's energy and ideas and make things happen!

Applications and Key Selection Criteria

We welcome applications from senior HR leaders with knowledge of the different specialist disciplines which make up People and Culture.

Along with your CV - please ensure to submit a) a cover letter which explains why this particular role (and AUT) is of interest, and b) a statement addressing how your experience aligns with the key selection criteria we're seeking below:

  1. Extensive senior HR leadership and staff management experience. Preferably this will include previously leading a People and Culture function of comparable size (or similar; and ideally within the tertiary or public sectors).
  2. Track record of leading and/or supporting the development or transformation of organisations into Te Tiriti-led entities.
  3. Significant experience working with unions and bargaining for collective agreements.
  4. Success in developing, implementing and importantly - delivering - continuous service-delivery improvements designed to directly support business priorities.
  5. An authentic, collaborative, inclusive, consultative people leadership style combined with outstanding resilience, interpersonal, and relational skills.
  6. Significant experience leading key strategic changes demonstrating an excellent understanding of cultural, operational and environmental change management.
  7. Interest and experience embracing innovation and transformation in previous HR leadership roles.
  8. Applicants are also welcome to add further comments they may feel of relevance. It is expected that the appointee would also hold a relevant tertiary qualification.

Further Information:

  • Start Date: Mid-late 2023 (as soon as possible, to be agreed with the successful candidate).
  • Term: The successful candidate will secure a 4-year term, renewable by mutual agreement. A competitive remuneration package will be agreed, commensurate with skills and experience.
  • Referees: Applicants should also provide names, contact details and clarification of relationship for at least two potential referees. Referees will not be contacted without the prior consent of the applicant.
  • Enquiries: Please contact Mike Wood, AUT Executive Recruitment Partner -
  • A Ministry of Justice Check and Credit Check will be undertaken as part of the pre-employment checks required, for the preferred candidate. 

Closing date for applications: Tuesday, 11 April at 11:55 pm (New Zealand Standard Time).

Interviews: We expect interviews to ideally take place early-mid May 2023.

Reference: 85297

At AUT we strive to be a place where people love to work and learn. We are committed to te Tiriti, excellence and inclusivity and aspire to be the University of choice for Māori and Pacific communities. We welcome people of all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious and political beliefs, socio-economic situations and accessibility needs.

Please note that all applications must be submitted through the online application process. For further information, please send us an enquiry here or call 921 9499. Please note we are happy to answer your questions but we do not accept applications by email. You will need to apply through the standard registration process.