Location: Parma, Italy

Deadline for applications: 17 May 2021

Do you have the passion and drive to lead a proactive Human Resources (HR) function? Are you a dynamic individual with strategic insight ready to take on a challenging and rewarding role?

The Head of the Human Capital Unit sets the strategic direction and serves as the principal adviser to the organization on talent management and operational HR matters. A thought-leader and strategic partner, s/he creates the vision and develops strategies to manage and support a diverse, dynamic, and high-performing workforce, including external scientific experts. S/he plays a critical role in positioning the organization to develop and deploy its human capital and acts as a change leader and inspirational manager to a team of around 30 staff members.

Key functions of Human Capital Unit (HuCap) include:

  • Strategic and thought leadership
  • Business partnering
  • Organizational and talent development
  • Integrated competency management
  • Workforce planning/Strategic Sourcing/Talent selection/Succession planning
  • Change management
  • Staff engagement
  • Staff support and administration

The Head of Unit reports to the Head of the Business Services Department.

Your key responsibilities

  • Provide strategic and operational advice to the Head of Department in the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies, practices and procedures in HR matters in line with EFSA's overall strategy and objectives;
  • Steer the delivery of comprehensive HR services - Ensure clear coordination, communication and implementation of the Unit roadmap in line with EFSA's strategy, providing people with vision, direction and leadership;
  • Source, develop and deploy competencies (internal staff and external scientific expertise), engaging and aligning people to EFSA’s mission and culture;
  • Lead and implement effective sourcing strategies in cooperation with the operational departments in order to make expertise and knowledge available to EFSA;
  • Influence, facilitate and lead organizational change and development initiatives leveraging best practice in human resources expertise and change management strategies;
  • Coach and supervise Unit staff, ensuring cross-unit cooperation and coordination
  • Build capability across the HR function, helping to complete the transformation of HR from a transactional and process-oriented function to a strategic business partner;
  • Review working practices to ensure optimisation of resources and deliver continuous improvement/innovation to reduce costs and increase quality;
  • Act as Authorising Officer for the delegated budget lines: ensure optimum deployment of the Unit's resources and sound financial planning and management by defining budget needs, preparing forecasts and monitoring budget execution in consultation with Team Leaders.


EFSA employs around 500 staff members, and its Scientific Committee and Panels engage highly qualified and independent scientific experts. Every position within EFSA plays an important part in creating an inspirational environment in which to work and develop.

As an EFSA staff member, you will have the chance to make a difference to European food safety working in an international and dynamic environment. You will also be able to participate in several valuable networking opportunities across Europe.

Furthermore, you will be joining EFSA at an exciting time as we are preparing for the implementation of the Transparency Regulation: EFSA will expand its mandate and grow considerably over the next few years.

To find out more about EFSA, visit us at www.efsa.europa.eu.


Life in Parma

Parma is a lively city of around 200.000 inhabitants located in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Italy. Parma is famous for its food and is strategically located between major cities like Milano and Bologna and within reachable distance from ski resorts, seaside and mountains.

Salary and benefits

EFSA can offer the selected candidate a contract of 5 years with the possibility of renewal.

The successful candidate will be recruited as Temporary Agent Grade AD 10 with the basic salary starting from € 9.117 monthly, subject to an annual review of remuneration provided for in Article 65(1) of the Staff Regulations.

In addition to the basic salary, EFSA offers a range of benefits (welfare package, household and expatriation allowances,...). Further information can be found in the full job description, on EFSA's career page.


You must satisfy the following requirements on the closing date for submission of your


I. Eligibility criteria

1. General requirements

  • Be national of a Member State of the European Union, Iceland or Norway;
  • Enjoy full rights as a citizen;
  • Have fulfilled any obligations imposed by laws concerning military service;
  • Be physically fit to perform the duties linked to the post;[1]
  • Have a thorough knowledge of one of the EU official languages and a satisfactory - knowledge of another EU language;

Meet the character requirements for the duties involved.

2. Qualifications

a) A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least four (4) years attested by a diploma[2] in one of the following fields: Human Resources Management/Development, Business/Public Administration, Law, or other related areas;


b) A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least three (3) years attested by a diploma[2] in one of the following fields: Human Resources Management/Development, Business/Public Administration, Law, or other related areas and in addition at least one (1) year of professional experience.

3. Experience

In addition to the above, at least twelve (12) years of proven professional experience[3] acquired after having obtained the qualifications mentioned in point 2 in positions corresponding to the nature of duties of the vacant post. Out of these twelve (12) years, at least two (2) years must have been acquired as a manager. In case you do not fulfil all the eligibility criteria, your application will not be taken into consideration.

II. Selection criteria

The following competencies will be assessed throughout the different phases of the selection procedure. Candidates are also expected to demonstrate effective communication in both spoken and written English as well as strong motivation for the position.

1. Technical competencies

i. Proven experience of at least five (5) years in leading, coaching, motivating teams and driving high performance (as Head of Unit, Head of Sector, Team Leader or equivalent), preferably gained in an international/multicultural environment;

ii.Demonstrated experience in translating organizational strategies into actionable HR roadmaps and objectives, and ensuring successful implementation;

iii.Experience in designing, implementing and coordinating talent management strategies, policies and activities, staying abreast of industry and organisational trends;

iv. Experience in change management and business transformation (including digital transformation and process reengineering/leaning), promoting change as a criticalthinking and innovative leader;

v. Knowledge of the EU administrative and financial procedures and ability to manage budgetary resources and a wide range of workforce and contractual modalities;

vi. Experience in designing and implementing knowledge management strategies is considered an asset.

2. Behavioural competencies

i. Deal with ambiguity: Able to work constructively within unexpected and unpredictable situations and show resilience and composure, even in difficult or adverse circumstances; able to decide and act without having the total picture; accept constructive feedback in a positive manner;

ii. Demonstrate political savvy and strategic agility: Look beyond the current situation and visualise what the future can bring with a keen sense for arising opportunities and good understanding of how and when to best pursue them; able to think in a creative and innovative way; negotiate well with those inside or outside the organisation; possess strong business acumen;

iii. Focus on stakeholder needs: Committed to meet the expectations and requirements of internal and external stakeholders; establish and maintain effective partnering relationships with stakeholders and gain their trust and respect;

iv. Plan and measure for results: Set ambitious goals that exceed the targets and create plans to achieve them; ensure an efficient and responsible planning and management of resources; coordinate multiple activities to achieve goals;

v. Work with others: Work confidently within a group and contribute to achieve the common goals, understanding own role and how it supports the team and the organisation; able to network, cooperate, listen actively, manage conflicts and motivate colleagues;

vi. Lead and develop a team: Lead, supervise and develop a group of people, in order to meet the expected results within a given timeline and considering the foreseen resources; inspire and motivate team members to achieve high performance and drive engagement.


Apply here!


The purpose of this call is to establish a talent pool (reserve list) that may be used for the recruitment of staff when a position becomes available and will be valid until 31/12/2022. The validity of the talent pool may be extended.

The grade bracket of the internal publication is AD 9 - AD 14.

Candidates are invited to read the ANNEX that represents an integral part of this vacancy and provides information on how to complete the application, the steps of the selection process and appeal procedures.

[1] [2] [3]: see official job description on EFSA career website.