Appointment of the Pensions Manager


Thank you for your interest in our University and in the new role of Pensions Manager.

Birmingham City University is a diverse, international community of over 25,000 students and almost 3,500 staff. We put students at the heart of everything we do, giving them the best opportunities for future success. The University has an enviable reputation for providing quality, student-focused education in a professional and friendly environment. Our superb courses, state-of-the-art facilities, first-rate staff and focus on practical skills and professional relevance is producing some of the country’s most employable graduates. Located in the heart of a vibrant Birmingham, we are the University for the City.

We are now seeking to appoint a Pensions Manager who will be responsible for the leadership and management of the pensions service to the University. You will ensure the effective delivery of pensions administration across the three current active schemes and advise the university on funding arrangements for each scheme, taking account of changes in legislation, scheme rules and university policies. The postholder will ensure that all members of University pension schemes understand their options and can make informed decisions about their financial arrangements for retirement.

You will be a qualified pensions specialist with experience of managing schemes in large, complex organisations. You will bring in-depth knowledge of pensions and employment legislation and experience of managing the financial aspects of pension schemes. You will also bring experience of working with pension scheme trustees and a range of professional advisors.

Birmingham City University is an exceptional place, with a truly supportive culture, you can find out more about the University and the role on this site. I do hope that you will express an interest in joining us. Our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley would be delighted to discuss the role with you.

Andrew Woods
Head of HR Shared Services


With over 25,500 students from c.100 countries and over 3,200 members of staff, Birmingham City University is a large, diverse and increasingly popular place to study. We put students at the heart of everything we do, giving them the best opportunities for future success.

The University has an enviable reputation for providing quality, student-focused education in a professional and friendly environment. Our superb courses, state-of-the-art facilities, first-rate staff, and focus on practical skills and professional relevance is producing some of the country’s most employable graduates. We’ve invested £340 million in our estate, including a major expansion of our city centre campus at Eastside, providing students with an enviable range of facilities.

We have an exciting new 2025 strategy which is clear that through our education and research, and the roles our graduates go on to play in the world, we not only support individuals to transform their lives, but we also play a part in transforming society.

Our values

Our staff and student community is defined by our core values, which outline who we are as a University and how we will work with each other.

Our core values are:

Excellence, People focused, Partnership working and Fairness and integrity.

Our mission
“To transform the prospects of individuals, employers and society through excellence in practice-based education, research and knowledge exchange.”

Our vision
“To be the leading university for creative and professional practice inspired by innovation and enquiry.”

We define our role and place in higher education through four characteristics which underpin what we do and how we do it:

We focus on practice so all students have Practice Intelligence (the capability to learn from experience and apply it to all future practice).

All courses include practice, practical experience and learning through practice; we command credibility and respect from the professions and our curriculum anticipates their changing needs.

Our research and knowledge development are applied to practice.

Creativity and enterprise
We promote the value and application of creativity and enterprise skills in all areas of our staff and students’ work.

Creativity and enterprise skills and capabilities will be distinguishing features of all Birmingham City University graduates.

Student Engagement
We seek high levels of student engagement so our students have a sense of ‘ownership’ in their University.

Our focus is student success and we believe they have a major role to play in shaping what the University does to ensure this.

Click here to view our Core Values Framework.

The role

Pensions Manager

Job reference:

Faculty/ School/Department: Human Resources
Responsible to: HR Head of Shared Services
Responsible for: No line management

Job purpose

The role of Pensions Manager has overall responsibility for strategic pension matters within Birmingham City University. The Pensions Manager will oversee, maintain and develop pension strategy and ensure it is aligned with the university’s business strategy. The remit covers all aspects of pensions including financials, policy, administration and governance.

Main activites and responsibilities

  1. Deliver the pension strategy for BCU, including its subsidiaries, and ensure BCU is competitive within the marketplace.
  2. Act as the subject matter expert in all matters relating to pensions. This will include keeping up to date with changes in pension legislation and the impact on BCU in relation to the existing pension arrangements.
  3. Work collaboratively with HR colleagues, ensure the operational delivery of and manage all internal processes, policies and communications relating to pensions, ensuring BCU remains compliant with necessary legislation and regulation.
  4. Provide technical support to the internal Payroll team.
  5. Deliver all reporting required in relation to the pension schemes internally and externally for regulatory and management purposes.
  6. Act as the key contact point for external and internal audit purposes in relation to the pension schemes.
  7. Lead the engagement and outcomes on the underlying covenants, deficit recovery periods and future service costs in relation to the schemes.
  8. Liaise with professional advisors to provide guidance on modelling on the future impact of the pension schemes on the group and the development of appropriate strategies to deliver target outcomes.
  9. Develop and manage an appropriate governance framework in relation to the Group Personal Pension (DC).
  10. Design and lead the communications/education processes to all employees to keep each individual aware of their pension choices and the value of the pension as part of their overall remuneration package.
  11. Manage the life assurance arrangements and any other long term disability schemes of BCU and its subsidiaries as required.
  12. Represent BCU at HE employer forums and workshops as appropriate.
  13. As a member of the HR management team, ensure continuous improvement and development of the department’s work and how we operate.
  14. Challenge working practices and methods in a proactive but constructive manner.
  15. Work proactively to present solutions on all people related issues.
  16. Any other duties commensurate with the nature and status of the role.

Additional key requirements

Managing people and resources

  • Manage conflict within and between different teams.
  • Undertake business analysis and utilise HR management information skilfully to provide cost/benefit analyses, support decision making and target key issues.
  • Use organisation design principles to maximise productivity in teams, identify blockers to effectiveness and provide solutions.


  • Communicate complex information to a wide variety of audiences in order to influence, achieve change where necessary and achieve results.
  • Provide honest and constructive feedback to colleagues at all levels in the interest of organisational improvement.

Teamwork and collaborative working

  • Create and maintain strong influential working relationships at all levels across the University.
  • Lead teams within areas of responsibility and act to resolve conflicts within and between teams.
  • Ensure that different teams within HR and professional services work effectively together.
  • Work flexibly and effectively across the HR function, promoting and facilitating joined up thinking and action.

Initiative, problem solving and decision making

  • Understand the culture and context of teams across the portfolio and how this helps or hinders progress.
  • Ensure change happens through implementing strategies, projects of initiatives and review the outcome of these and their contribution to achieving business strategy.
  • Utilise a high level of technical HR, Payroll and Pension knowledge, skill and expertise including legal and theory skills.  Apply this in finding business focused solutions.
  • Manage competing/conflicting priorities effectively and take decisive action.
  • Influence University decisions through providing expertise on a wide range of people management matters and leading or participating in relevant working groups, committees and consultations.

Work environment

  • Be aware of risks in the work environment and the potential impact on own work and that of others.  In own area of work conduct risk assessments, take steps to reduce hazards and take responsibility for the health and safety of self and others.
  • Ensure that appropriate risk management processes are operational within own area of responsibility.



  • Educated to degree level or with equivalent substantial practical experience.
  • Very significant experience in a pensions role, operating with a high degree of autonomy and proactivity as a strategic Partner.
  • An up-to-date knowledge of UK pensions, payroll, tax and employment law (as relevant) and best practice approaches in these areas.
  • Effective planning, organisation and analytical skills.
  • Experience of working within a complex, multi-disciplinary organisation.
  • Experience of working in partnership with senior decision-makers with demonstrable success of building good relationships and partnerships with key influencers.
  • Relevant professional qualification.
  • Extensive experience of delivering change and improvement projects.
  • Ability to think strategically and develop a vision for the BCU pensions portfolio HR in the context of the University’s strategic and commercial direction.
  • Experience of informal and/or formal consultation with excellent negotiating skills.
  • Proven capabilities as a manager, with a flexible and inclusive management style appropriate to the complexity and diversity of the University, and the ability to make logical, well-balanced and reasoned decisions.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to present clear, well-structured reports and briefs.
  • Ability to communicate highly sensitive and complex issues clearly and straightforwardly to managers and staff, sometimes in contentious situations.
  • Emotional resilience and the ability to manage own and others resilience when under pressure whilst continuing to deliver to tight deadlines.
  • Strong customer focus.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Energy, enthusiasm and confidence.
  • Good knowledge of developments in the Higher Education arena that will influence the people agenda.
  • Strong IT skills with confidence in the use and application of IT solutions to reduce bureaucracy and promote effective working.

Special requirements

Able to undertake duties at different premises including any University campus as required.

Additional travel may be necessary from time to time in order to attend conferences and events and effectively represent the University in key professional networks.

May be required to work outside normal office hours to support University events and activities or meet service need.

Expectations of all staff

Professional standards

All staff employed by Birmingham City University are expected to exhibit high professional standards which promote and demonstrate the University’s core values of Excellence, People Focused, Partnership Working, Fairness and Integrity.

Equal Opportunities

All staff are expected to understand and enact the University’s commitment to ensuring equality and diversity in all activities. This commitment is enshrined in the Equality Statement and core values.

Dignity at work

Every member of staff has a responsibility to ensure colleagues are treated with dignity and respect.

The University is committed to creating a work environment for all staff that is free from harassment, intimidation and any other forms of bullying at work, where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and professional courtesy.

Health and safety

The arrangements for meeting the University’s health and safety objectives are contained in the Birmingham City University Health and Safety Policy. This includes the responsibilities of key staff and procedures covering the main activities of the University.

All staff are expected to take reasonable care of themselves and those that may be affected by their actions.

Dress code

The University does not operate a formal dress code for its employees, other than for those who are provided with uniform and/or protective clothing. However, employees must ensure that their dress is professional, reasonably smart and appropriate for the situation in which they are working. All staff should ensure that they present a professional image and one that reflects sensitivity to customer perceptions. This may reflect their ethnicity and lifestyle, but should not be provocative or cause offence to those with whom they have contact.


All staff are expected to adhere to good citizenship, being generous with help and support to others, collaborating with colleagues and working for the benefit of the University as a whole. In particular working to provide a positive student experience and achieving excellence in all the University’s activities.

This job description indicates the expectations of staff at this level. Job descriptions are not exhaustive and you may be required to undertake other duties of a similar level and responsibility.

Terms of appointment

This post is offered on a full time, permanent basis.

The salary will be up to £56,364 (plus a market supplement of 5%).

Benefits include the following

  • Generous annual leave entitlement – 40 days including bank holidays and Christmas/New Year closure
  • 37 hour working week
  • Many family friendly policies to be taken advantage of
  • Sickness/absence entitlement
  • Local Government Pension scheme – this is a defined benefit scheme
  • Library facilities on all campuses
  • Travel card scheme
  • Car parking
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Car share scheme
  • On site catering facilities
  • Excellent access to CPD and development activities
  • Plenty of non-curricular activity to participate in especially in health and wellbeing, and concerts at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

How to apply

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

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Alice Hayler on +44(0)7596 954 388, Phil Entwistle on +44(0)7596 954 387 or Ed Pritchard on +44 (0)7980 817 927.

The closing date for applications is noon on Wednesday 8 September 2021. 

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of 3 pages) outlining how you meet the points under Section A of the Expertise and Experience section in the job profile above.
  • Please include details of two referees, though please note that we will not approach referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.
  • Please complete an online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1205.

Search timetable

Closing date: noon on Wednesday 8 September
Longlisting: Thursday 16 September
Preliminary interviews with AQ: w/c 20 and 27 September
Shortlisting: Thursday 7 October
Final Panel Interviews: Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 October