Appointment of the Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment

Aston University


Thank you for your interest in the role of Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment at Aston University. As a recent arrival myself, I am aware how exciting embarking on a senior job application can be.

Aston University is one of the UK’s top 25 universities, with a mission to be the UK’s leading institution for students aspiring to succeed in business and the professions. A new leadership team, led by our Vice-Chancellor Professor Aleks Subic, has developed a bold 2030 strategy which builds on our strengths and supports our ambition to continue to grow and develop our position as a university renowned for science, technology and enterprise.

Key to our plans is a 25% increase in student numbers and our new Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment will lead a large team in delivering innovative student recruitment and admissions activities and a responsive and integrated branding, marketing and communications approach.  The successful candidate will lead on positioning Aston in the UK domestic market which will include strengthening our brand and reputation, sharpening our value proposition and unique selling points, all of which will enable successful reach and impact locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The role requires an experienced higher education marketer who can evidence innovation in student recruitment and reputational enhancement. Candidates will bring experience of delivering real and measurable change including re-engineering complex processes towards a digital-first approach, and transformational people practices to achieve a step-change in performance.

During this appointment process you will learn more about our vision, our future plans, and what makes Aston University special. You can find more about the role and the University on this site and please talk to our advisers at Anderson Quigley. I look forward to seeing your application.

Mike Caine
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Engagement & Innovation)

About us



Built on strong and diverse foundations, Aston University was set up by Birmingham’s employers in 1895 as a technical college to support the needs of the City. From its establishment as a university in 1966 to the present day, Aston University has maintained its focus on meeting the commercial and technical needs of the region.

We are renowned for improving the lifelong prospects, social capital and progression of hard-working students who aspire to develop professional careers and contribute to their communities.

By most measures we are one of the most diverse universities in the UK, with over 70% of our home undergraduate students from BAME communities, compared with 24% average for UK universities, and we welcome international students from over 120 countries each year. A recent study by HEPI ranked Aston University 2nd in England for transforming lives through social mobility at scale. This is embedded across the DNA of Aston University – the results demonstrate our commitment.

We were the first university to include integrated placement years as standard in their degree programmes. Placements, pre-registration years, and work and study abroad opportunities now feature across our undergraduate programmes.

Our alumni community is extensive with over 100,000 engaged alumni from over 170 countries around the world, contributing to the success of their organisations and communities.

  • Ranked 22nd in the Guardian University League Tables 2023.
  • Sustainable campus – Top 30 in the UK’s university rankings (People and Planet University Green League Table, 2022/23).
  • Ranked 4th out of 429 universities by Uni Compare users (2022).
  • Aston University is the second UK university to have an engineering department achieve Athena Swan Gold.


Colleges and Academic Structure

The engines of Aston University are the Academic Colleges, comprising 11 specialist Schools; blending business, health, science and technology expertise to drive innovation and engagement for our primary beneficiaries.

The Colleges work very closely with colleagues from Professional Services and Engagement to deliver an outstanding student experience.

College of Business and Social Sciences (BSS)

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS)

College of Health and Life Sciences (HLS)

The Division

The Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions division is responsible for developing and protecting the University’s reputation, and for the attraction and recruitment of domestic students.

The team is structured in a ‘hub and spoke’ model, with hub teams specialising in Student Recruitment and Outreach, Creative Services, Digital Marketing, CRM and Market Research, with spoke teams working directly within our academic Colleges and research and knowledge exchange, leading on marketing and communication campaigns.

The Admissions team provides an admissions service for all undergraduate, postgraduate, CPD and professional courses. The team is responsible for all aspects of admissions, offer management and enrolment planning. It works closely with marketing colleagues to support the concurrent student recruitment lifecycles in home markets, leading on confirmation and clearing.

The Press & Communications team manages all internal and external communications across the University and the Colleges.

The team leads on the reputation development of the University. Experts in communication channel management, they work in a matrix with colleagues to build internal communications with all staff, and external reputation with multiple audiences; the team includes the events management team, co-ordinating graduation and numerous corporate events.

Mission, values and behaviours

Our mission is to be the UK’s leading university for students aspiring to succeed in business and the professions, where original research, enterprise and inspiring teaching deliver local and global impact by:

  • Providing high-quality teaching and student support
  • Producing collaborative research with high translation and impact
  • Promoting skill building and industry development
  • Fostering community engagement and development

All staff are expected to demonstrate and promote the University’s values and behaviours, , which are an integral part of our strategy and underpin the culture of the University.


Aston is professional and ambitious

The University believes this is a prerequisite to realise our mission and vision, and will be recognised by businesses and external organisations as shared values which make Aston an attractive partner for research and education.

Aston is innovative and collaborative

The University works across disciplines, institutions and partners to be proactive in creating and implementing new ideas, to be a leader in modern educational techniques and to undertake research which inspires staff, students and external partners.

Aston is ethical and inclusive

The University recognises its responsibility to be an exemplar of behaviour and conduct in all that it does. It will leverage the diversity of its staff and student body to achieve outcomes for its beneficiaries and provide opportunities for education and professional development to all.

Our behaviours

The behaviour framework outlines the behaviours we demonstrate when working towards our  priorities. The focus is not just on what you achieved but how you have achieved it.

Aston’s behaviours are split into five key areas:

  • Be your best self
  • Make it happen
  • Strengthen leadership
  • Think big, Think wide
  • Serve our beneficiaries

In addition, our leaders are expected to be accountable, help to execute strategic visions of the University and share and set clear expectations that inspire those around them.  All staff are expected to demonstrate the expected standards in Our Commitment to You, which you will find on the Aston University website ‘About’ section, to deliver a good service experience.

For further details see

Living in Birmingham

Aston University is in a great, central location. Ideally positioned in the centre of Birmingham – one of the youngest cities in Europe – our campus is only a 10 minute walk to the city centre.

Culture and Heritage
Home to some of the greatest creators and inventors, culture and heritage makes Birmingham a great city.

The Ultimate Shopping Experience
With over 200 shops across the Bullring and Grand Central, Birmingham is a shopper’s paradise.

Wonderful Performing Arts
Birmingham hosts the best British musicals, pantomimes, operas and ballet.

Fantastic Food and Drink
Michelin-starred restaurants, the Chinese quarter, street dining, farmers’ markets, high street chains to independents, Birmingham has some wonderful places to drink.

Sporting Action
Birmingham has a long history of football, cricket, rugby and athletics. Aston University is the Official UK University Partner of Aston Villa Football Club in the Premier League and was the host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Open Spaces
Birmingham has acres of green spaces, parks, historical canals and scenic routes for walking, running or cycling.

The role

Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment (AQ2105)

Apply now

Job title: Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment
Responsible to:
PVC Engagement and Innovation
Responsible for: Full CRM-enabled, lifecycle of student recruitment for home students, including on-line, and associated admissions. Corporate marketing; public relations & events; student and alumni communications, including digital and social media channels.
Line management of: Deputy Director Marketing, Deputy Director Marketing Operations, Director of Admissions, and Head of PR and Communications.


The Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment will provide the strategic and operational leadership of Aston University’s marketing, communications, home student recruitment and admissions teams and provide Marketing and Communications support for the Director of International. The role is responsible for the lifecycle of home and Foundation, UG and PG student recruitment from marketing campaigns, to enquiries through to admissions.

The Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment will lead on positioning Aston in the UK domestic market. The role will lead a large team in delivering innovative activities including a responsive and integrated branding, marketing and communications approach. This will include strengthening our brand and reputation, sharpening our value proposition and unique selling points, and enabling successful reach and impact locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment will lead the development of market insights to set targets across domestic markets, channels and segments and strategies to deliver on these targets.

As an experienced higher education marketer, the Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment will evidence innovation in student recruitment and reputational enhancement. The role will deliver real and measurable change including re-engineering complex processes towards a digital-first approach, and transformational people practices to achieve a step-change in performance.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Develop and implement a coherent, CRM-enabled growth strategy for the University’s domestic student recruitment, access and outreach, admissions, marketing, communications, and PR agendas, to build brand and reputation and supporting the University’s wider engagement agenda.
  • Deliver customer focused, high quality, effective and responsive services, and nurture a results-focused working culture where staff take initiative, seek continuous improvement and deliver outcomes.
  • Drive the production of market intelligence and insights to inform a demand-led, data-driven, approach to target setting and use competitive positioning strategies to inform the setting of fees, entry requirements and the use of scholarships to attract different target segments to come to Aston to study.
  • In collaboration with the senior academic community, use market demand and insights to inform product development and deliver clear value propositions for our programme portfolio, including on-line provision.
  • Collaborate effectively with the Director International to support international recruitment where required.
  • Provide effective leadership for the University’s student recruitment and access operations, develop market, channel and segment strategies to drive demand for Aston’s programmes across domestic activity from early interest, through enquiry to application, offer and conversion into enrolment, using appropriate CRM systems.
  • Responsible for the achievement of the annually agreed domestic student number targets, in collaboration with College PVCs and other Executive colleagues.
  • Develop and implement digital-first PR strategies to build brand, reputation and stakeholder engagement, including generating external media coverage at home and in select international markets, and act as the media spokesperson for the University.
  • Proactively identify risks, prevent and manage incidents, including provision of expert media and crisis management advice to the VC and the University Executive.
  • Act as Aston’s brand guardian and ensure that the external creative agencies/y deliver high quality and effective solutions and services across all media and channels.
  • Develop and maintain a strong web presence for the University, and lead the digital marketing and social media strategy, including lead responsibility for content strategy and editorial standards.
  • Develop and deliver an excellent customer experience from early interest up until enrolment, using relevant systems and business processes (such as CRM) to deliver a cohesive and joined up student journey, in close partnership with relevant parts of the University.
  • Develop and manage significant budgets, in accordance with the university’s financial regulations, delivering value for money and maximising return on investment.
  • Ensure compliance of all activities and initiatives with relevant regulations and laws, including Advertising Standards, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidelines, Safeguarding, the UK Quality Code and GDPR.
  • Represent the University professionally and with integrity, both internally and externally, to deliver on the University’s beneficiary strategy and to build brand and reputation.



  • A track record of successful leadership at a senior level in higher education in marketing and communications, with evidence of success in home student recruitment.
  • Evidence of a creative and innovative approach to a Digital-First programme of activities, underpinned with sound understanding of the changing and challenging Higher Education landscape.
  • Experience of delivering real and measurable change including re-engineering complex processes and transformational people practices to achieve a step change in performance.
  • Evidenced experience in effective and efficient resource management and monitoring investments against desired outcomes, measuring and evaluating the return on the investment.
  • Strong people skills and a proven ability to lead, work with and command the respect of both academic and professional staff through collaborative working.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiating skills to lead and drive effective acquisition of future, and to be a confident and persuasive communicator, who delivers outcomes through an assertive yet collaborative approach.
  • Evidence of application of innovative solutions, and use of imagination and creativity to inspire, lead and motivate teams of staff.

Terms of appointment

A competitive salary will be negotiated with the successful candidate.

The size and scope of the university means that the opportunities on offer are as diverse as the people who work here. From a generous annual leave scheme, gym membership, on-site nursery and flexible working to opportunities to volunteer in the community, there is something for everyone. Let’s have a look at some of these benefits in detail.
For more information please visit the benefit pages on our website;

Cycle-to-work scheme
Cycle-to-Work is open to all employees. Through our salary conversion scheme, we’ll make a bicycle available to you for commuting – alongside safety equipment, free of income tax and national insurance.

Employee travel pass scheme
The University has an affiliation to Company Travelwise in Birmingham and an on-going commitment to green transport. As a result, annual travel passes purchased under the Employee Travel Pass Scheme will be available at a discounted price.

Car park scheme
Under the Flexible Benefits Scheme, instead of the car park charges being collected from your net pay, you can exchange an amount of gross salary that is equivalent to the charge. As a result, you will pay less National Insurance, thereby reducing the cost of car park charges.

Low emission car lease scheme
The new Low Emission Car Lease Scheme offers you the opportunity of a new car, benefiting from corporate discounts and savings on Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. The car scheme will only offer cars with low CO2 emissions (120g/km or less).

Aston University nursery scheme
Aston University Nursery was founded in 1973 with a commitment to provide the highest standard of care and education. The Salary Conversion Scheme for the Aston University Nursery has been set up to provide Tax and National Insurance savings.

Computer share childcare vouchers
The University recognises that employees with children often require flexible pre-school and out-of school childcare in a convenient location. Childcare vouchers allow you to choose your own childcare provider, reduce your childcare costs and help you achieve the work/life balance you need.

Aston gym memberships
The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre is a fantastic onsite staff facility. Permanent members of staff can choose to pay their membership fee via their monthly/weekly salary or in a one-off lump sum payment. Non-permanent staff can still get Aston staff prices but must pay for the membership in one lump sum.

Charitable giving
We have been looking at ways of promoting charitable giving through the payroll and of providing the most effective way of making tax savings on donations.
There are two ways you can do it:

  • Give As You Earn (GAYE) – A way of making donations to a charity of your choice and receiving immediate tax relief.
  • Flexible Benefits Scheme – Salary conversion for donations to Aston University to support students.

Citysave Credit Union
Having a regular savings plan means building up a fund of money towards Christmas, a holiday or just for a rainy day. Having it come directly out of your salary means saving has never been easier. In addition, surplus profits the credit union makes are returned to our members in the form of a yearly dividend. Citysave is covered by the FSCS, so your savings up to £75,000 are secure.

Cinema Society Club
You can register with the Cinema Society Club to receive up to 40% off tickets.

Will Writing Service
Aston University has teamed up with Dunham McCarthy, Estate Planning & Will Specialists, to offer Aston employees and their families a free will writing service.

Conference Aston
All staff receive a 15% discount when dining at Conference Aston.

Annual Leave
The annual bookable leave entitlement for staff working on a full-time basis is 25 days for staff in Grades 1 to 6, 30 days for staff in Grades 7 to 10 and 31 days for Professorial and equivalent staff. In addition to the above bookable leave entitlement, a minimum of 13 additional days holiday per year is given as specified Bank and University holidays, the dates of which are circulated annually and are published on the University’s website. Part-time staff are entitled to the same amount of annual leave, including Bank and University Holidays, as full-time staff, on a pro-rata basis to the hours that they work.

If you are a regularly employed member of staff, you will be enrolled into a pension scheme, the exact scheme will depend upon the grade of the post. Further information is available on our website:

Recognition Vouchers
We designed this scheme to provide managers with the flexibility and autonomy to recognise individuals or whole teams ‘in the moment’ by awarding them with e-vouchers. Typically e-vouchers are given for going above and beyond normal expectations of a job or role: completion of a project, innovative idea or process/product improvement that has had a positive impact for the university, students, staff or the wider community; excellent customer feedback; citizenship where an individual has gone out of their way to help others.

Personal/Professional Development
To equip you with all the skills you need, we offer a comprehensive range of learning and development programmes. Whatever your role and ambitions, we will support you to build your skills set and be your best at work. As well as training, we offer an induction programme for all our new starters. This induction will give you a basic overview of our organisation, along with the chance to meet colleagues from across the University.

Employee Assistance Programme
Open to all staff, the service offers confidential support for a variety of issues such as managing money; having a family; moving house; personal life; retirement; work life; returning to work after a break; family crises; personal crises; healthy choices; illness. Services are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Relocation Support
Subject to the conditions of the University’s relocation policy, we provide assistance to new employees who have to relocate to take up a position. This policy applies to staff appointed to a position at grade 7 (salary point 25) or above on an open-ended contract or to a fixed term position of two years or more, and who have to relocate their place of residence in order to take up the appointment. Positions which are externally funded fall outside of this policy.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University, an executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on Thursday, 19 October 2023.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter outlining how you meet the essential experience criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include details of two referees in either your CV or covering letter, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Sophie Rees at, or +44 (0)7719 313 982 or Kiersten Avery at, or 44(0)7510 384 735.


Advert closes                    Midday, Thursday 19 October
Panel Interviews Monday 27 November (TBC)