Head of People


Ivy Rock Partners are thrilled to be working with the Philharmonia Orchestra in appointing an outstanding experienced HR professional to support, nurture and develop the Philharmonia’s employees and players.

This newly created senior level appointment will help to ensure that the Orchestra is an inclusive, welcoming environment where individuals have the skills and support to do their best work. The Head of People plays a crucial role at the Philharmonia.

The successful candidate will have relevant HR managerial qualified experience, excellent interpersonal and organisational skills, and a passion for supporting and developing people at all levels. They will be setting up new frameworks, processes and codes of conduct. The post holder will work closely with the Director of Operations & Finance, the CEO and the Orchestra President to ensure that the people of the Philharmonia thrive and we are a great place to work.

The orchestra

Based in London at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonia creates thrilling performances for a global audience. Through its network of residencies, the Orchestra has a national footprint, serving communities across England both in performance and through its extensive outreach and engagement programme.

Founded in 1945, in part as a recording orchestra for the nascent home audio market, today the Philharmonia uses the latest digital technology to reach new audiences for symphonic music. The Philharmonia was led by Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, its Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor since 2008. Fellow Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali takes over from Salonen as Principal Conductor in the 2021/22 season.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the Philharmonia’s strong digital programme has enabled the Orchestra to maintain an international presence, with a global audience enjoying live-streamed concerts and the critically acclaimed free Philharmonia Sessions series.

The Philharmonia is a registered charity. It relies on income from a wide range of sources to deliver its programme, and is proud to be generously supported by Arts Council England.

Role and responsibilities

Players and Staff The Philharmonia has c.35employees and 80 Orchestra self employed player members. Working closely with the Director of Operations & Finance the role will be to develop and deliver a HR and people strategy. Responsibilities Include:

  • Manage the end to end people process for all aspects of the organisation
  • Continuous improvement of HR foundations including compliance, internal communication, and clear policies and procedures
  • Provide complex ER support to the Board, management and contracted player members of the Orchestra, with professional HR advice and guidance in line with current legislation and company policies and procedures.
  • Manage recruitment, induction and exit process for employees in conjunction with line managers
  • Contribute towards development and delivery of people plan covering areas of culture, organisation effectiveness and development, capability, resourcing, succession and development planning
  • Set up and run performance management process including appraisals, objectives and clarity on all roles and expectations
  • In conjunction with the financial controller and players fees administrator, managing inputs into the payroll process for employees and players to ensure accuracy of payroll
  • Support with leadership effectiveness and governance training
  • Manage and administer the HR system, ensuring all records are accurate, complete and training is monitored
  • Champion values of the Orchestra and provide coaching and support to motivate and engage management to develop capability to continue to make the Philharmonia a great place to work
  • Be a key member of the Equalities team, taking a lead in delivering workforce inclusivity and relevance projects and proactively seek improvements in this area.
  • Collate data driven people insights and KPIs to drive future progress and report these to the Board, Arts Council England and other funders
  • Full organisation people projects, including player fees review, and codes of conduct
  • Leading on employee engagement and staff well being, including co-ordinating Mental Health First Aid and Employee Assistance programmes, and supporting the Philharmonia Benevolent Fund administration

Person specification


  • Significant generalist HR experience, demonstrating proven track record in delivering on the above accountabilities
  • Proven track record of designing and delivering HR strategies delivering significant change projects
  • Experience in developing HR, processes and line management capability to address complex and sensitive disciplinary, grievance and welfare matters
  • Up to date knowledge of employment law and CIPD qualified
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Personable approach with demonstrable evidence of developing and sustaining positive working relationships at all levels within an organisation
  • Interest in the Arts
  • Self motivated and proactive
  • An ability to communicate with, and influence people at all levels


  • Either experience in a full end to end standalone HR role, or having previously operated at a senior level wanting to now take a more hands on approach
  • Experience of working with a group of self employed contractors • Experience in a consumer facing organisation

Key information

  • Salary: £60,000 – £65,000 (pro rata)
  • Contract: permanent, 21 hours per week. Flexible working pattern through the week
  • Location: Primarily based at our Chancel Street office, with travel to other London locations, some wfh flexibility available
  • Pension: the Company will contribute 6% of salary to a qualifying pension scheme

The Philharmonia Orchestra is committed to ensuring equitable opportunities and a welcoming environment for all those that engage in our work. We strive for a more representative workforce and encourage applications from under-represented groups in the UK arts workforce, particularly those from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds, from lower socio-economic statuses, d/Deaf and Disabled applicants, and those from the LGBTQIA+ community. We are a Real Living Wage employer and a Disability Confident Employer.