Reward Specialist

Updated: over 1 year ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Reward Specialist (
Job Number:
Grade 7: - £36,333 - £43,155 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: Hybrid working
Closing Date
: 03-Apr-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally. Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here


Our People Strategy

People are the most important asset of Durham University, and our HR Department is pivotal in ensuring that we attract, recruit, develop, reward and retain the very best talent from across the world into our University community. Building on our bold and ambitious University Strategy, a key role of HR is to secure the University’s strategic aim, ‘to be a world leading employer’ by ensuring that our staff can reach their full potential. The HR Department plays a lead role in creating a working environment for our staff (and potential staff) which is supportive, stimulating and informative which provides for creative and innovative employment practices and opportunities. Our aim is to make sure that Durham University is a great place to work.

Our People Strategy has 5 key strategic aims. These are:

• To structure the workforce in the most effective and efficient ways to deliver the University Strategy

• To attract, retain and reward the best talent

• To develop leadership at all levels ensuring that all staff are supported to realise their potential and understand their contributions to achieving the University's core goals

• To ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged

• To promote and support the wellbeing of the workforce.

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.


The Role and Department

The Reward Specialist will be a subject matter expert in a team that provides specialist advice and guidance to managers and other HR colleagues on our pay, reward and recognition arrangements. This includes areas such as our pay and grading arrangements, job evaluation, annual reward schemes, academic progression and promotion, financial wellbeing, the pension schemes and benefits that we offer and our approach to employee recognition.

The role will predominantly support our reward arrangements supporting the University to attract, retain and reward the best talent in a globally competitive employment market but there will also be an opportunity to support projects across the broad spectrum of HR&OD.

There is lots of scope for development and future career progression at Durham and the role is likely to appeal to reward specialists or HR generalists who have developed expertise in reward management. We work flexibly and operate hybrid working arrangements meaning the postholder can work remotely for most of the week.



Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

Typical Role Requirements

Service Delivery

  • A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.
  • Plan, organise and support annual pay and progression processes including attendance at various business meetings and formal committees.
  • Manage correspondence relating to pay and reward process and support the development of guidance, relevant briefings and training activities.
  • Work with colleagues to develop and deliver our pay, reward and recognition arrangements including pay and grading arrangements, annual pay reviews, provision of benefits, and recognition schemes.
  • Contribute to service improvements to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level.
  • Manage assigned activities (such as academic promotion) and/or processes ensuring a high-quality and timely service to all stakeholders.
  • Review and improve systems and procedures in line with University, School and Department regulations and frameworks.
  • Maintain an awareness of current policy, employment law and best practice, and its relevance to the higher education environment and provision of professional HR advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Distribute information and provide advice to stakeholders regarding compliance and regulations.
  • Ensure regulations and procedures are updated to take account of internal and external changes. 
  • Provide specialist expertise and support with complex data and information sources including interpretation and analysis e.g. salary benchmarking.
  • Undertake relevant research relating to the development of policies and procedures.
  • Contribute to operational leadership teams and decision making to shape the nature and level of service provided.

Planning and Organisation

  • Ensure that constituent parts of the University (e.g. Academic Departments, Office of the Provost, HR&OD Team) are co-ordinated and work together to progress projects such as the academic progression and promotion and pay review processes in a timely and effective way in line with agreed plans.
  • Implement changes to the design and development of services and processes. 
  • Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services.
  • Analyse pay and benchmark data and provide reports to HR&OD colleagues and Service Heads making recommendations as appropriate. 
  • Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Maintain an awareness of current policy for University business goals such as widening participation and access, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Maintain an awareness of the external environment and sector best practice to support high quality services.

Communications and Networking

  • Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future services and the University’s reputation.
  • Deliver training, teaching and/or development delivery for stakeholders.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at departmental and operational service levels.
  • Provide proactive and comprehensive input and support to Head of Services, School and/or Department to achieve strategic and operational priorities.
  • Provide advice to stakeholders in relation to HR and Reward policy, procedures, and regulations.
  • Draft formal reports for business meeting and committees.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level.
  • Provide training and/or instruction to stakeholders. 

•    Any other reasonable duties.   

Working at Durham 

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits: 

•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary (Christmas closure) days per year – a total of 42 days per year.  
•    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 
•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
•    On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions. 
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits. 
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.

How to Apply   

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.   
Submitting your application 

We prefer to receive applications online. We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates.
What you need to submit   

•    A CV: and   
•    A supporting statement or covering letter which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.

What you need to demonstrate when you apply

When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  

Your application should cover the following criteria:

Essential Criteria


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience.
  • Certified member of CIPD (or equivalent experience) including a broad working knowledge of employment legislation and experience of its practical application in a reward context.
  • Professional HR practitioner with knowledge and expertise as a reward specialist (or a HR generalist involved in reward work) and experience of providing specialist HR advice and guidance to colleagues, managers, and senior leaders
  • Experience of developing and implementing policies and procedures in a user-friendly and accessible format.
  • Skills/Attributes/Values

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills and the ability to build strong and effective working relationships with colleagues, managers and senior leaders, internally and externally.
  • Strong digital skills and experience in the use of digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications (particularly excel) and business systems (e.g. HR systems, reporting tools).
  • The ability to successfully manage and deliver projects working under pressure to set and achieve goals within tight deadlines.
  • Excellent organisation skills and attention to detail with the ability to understand, manage and confidently advice senior managers on complex processes.
  • Investigatory and analytical skills including a high level of proficiency in data analysis.
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.
  • Ability to identify and resolve problems, decide on and plan solutions.
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to exchange information and shape best practice.
  • Committed to continuing professional development.
  • Desirable criteria

    • HR experience within a Higher Education context.
    • Experience of job design and evaluation.


    Contact details   
    For a chat about the role or any further information please email [email protected]  

    Useful links

    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices - Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.   

    When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

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