DEADLINE 15 May 2019 - UK

The Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) is seeking to appoint an Office Manager and Conference Assistant. The RAI is the oldest learned society devoted to anthropology and plays a leading role in the dissemination and creation of anthropological knowledge. Registered as a charity, it has its own freehold building in Fitzroy Street, and approximately 20 staff (full and part-time). Its library is jointly run with the British Museum, and it works with many institutions in the UK and overseas.

This post is a new one, and arises out of the RAI’s increasingly busy programme of events, conferences and activities. The Office Manager will be expected to work from the RAI’s offices in London and take an active role in the RAI’s activities and programmes alongside other members of staff. The role is broadly speaking from 9.30am until 5.30pm, and the successful candidate will be expected to work on site. There is occasional travel to other UK locations, for example if we hold a conference outside London, and during a lecture or event occasionally working after hours will be necessary. This excepted, it is essential that the successful candidate is able to work during office hours from our offices at 50 Fitzroy Street, and this position is not therefore appropriate for remote working. The office is busy, and the post entails additionally light occasional physical duties such as rearranging rooms, books, changing lightbulbs, or taking in boxes of supplies. It is also expected that the successful candidate is comfortable or ready to learn the use of IT systems that are typically used in modern offices and events, such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Zoom, Conference Management Systems, and so on.

Summary job description

The contract is due to commence with effect from 1st September 2019. Probation is for six months, after which the position is permanent. The person coming into post will especially be charged with running the RAI’s building situated in 50 Fitzroy Street. This building is used to house the RAI’s archive and photo collection; many of the RAI’s staff; to hold regular events and seminars, and otherwise co-ordinate the RAI’s programmes nationally and internationally. Some indication of these events may be seen on our website,

The Office Manager’s role will be largely ‘front of house’, and entail substantial interaction with the RAI’s Fellows and the general public. They will be expected to greet visitors and callers; liaise with contractors and tradesmen; ensure that the building and its interior are kept in good order; be the main point of call for telephone enquiries to the RAI, order supplies either online or go to purchase them where necessary; help administer committee meetings and to set up the room where necessary, and ensure that appropriate refreshments are made available to visitors.

The RAI is increasingly organising conference activities, notably with other learned societies and the British Museum. The successful candidate will assist the Assistant Director (Administration) in the managing of these conferences, with particularly busy periods in the lead up and during the event itself.

Notwithstanding these general duties, it should be emphasised that the RAI runs as a small and highly successful team, and it is necessary to lend a hand with other tasks as they arise. It is essential therefore that the successful candidate shares the aim of the RAI to be active, creative and is committed to the furtherance of anthropology as a subject, and to the public education of anthropology. They will need to be cordial, friendly under pressure, and be able to multi-task without being phased, and will be happy to join in willingly if a challenge presents itself.

The post of Office Manager reports to the Director, and may on occasion be requested to provide PA assistance to the Director in the course of their duties.

It is expected that the successful candidate will have an undergraduate and/or postgraduate degree. It is not essential that they should have a background in anthropology, but it is necessary that they are sympathetic to the subject, and therefore would enjoy sustained interaction with professional anthropologists and be prepared to engage with the content of the range of events and lectures that the RAI organises. Event coordination skills and experience will also be especially valuable. Previous experience in working in the learned society/charitable sector would be an advantage.

Indicative job description:

General reception and telephone duties
Handling general enquiries from the public
Routine dealings with utilities and public services
Maintenance of records and filing systems
Office supplies and petty cash
Catering requirements for the office
Booking internal and external events in the meeting room
Setting up for events
Receiving and dispatching post
Organising couriers
Arrangements for committee meetings held at 50 Fitzroy St
Occasional PA duties for the Director (eg. buying travel tickets and sourcing accommodation,
arranging meetings, assistance with filing papers).
Organising video conferencing for meetings
Assistance with external events, such as the film festival and biennial conference
• Bookings, registration and delegate enquiries
• Invitation letters
• Certificates
Care of office equipment
Building maintenance
Health and safety
Fire Warden
And other duties as may be requested by the Director.

Person specification

Post name: RAI Office Manager    
Knowledge & experience Undergraduate and/or postgraduate degree *  
  Active interest in or sympathy with Anthropology *  
  Experience in the learned society/charity sector   *
  Experience in running events   *
  Experience in office management   *
  Experience in dealing with the general public   *
Communication Excellent command of English, written and oral *  
  Excellent interpersonal and communication skills *  
  Ability and willingness to work in a small team and contribute to collegiality *  
  Readiness to operate or learn various IT systems as may be required *  
Decision making Ability and willingness to take responsibility for activities related to the RAI under the gudance of the RAI's Director *  
  Ability and willingness to take independent decisions *  
General Ability and willingness to work from the RAI's offices in London *  
  Permission to reside and work in the UK *  


The salary will be £29,500 per annum for a full-time post, inclusive of London Allowance. A pension contribution of 10% will be payable in addition to the basic salary. Annual leave consists of 25 days + Bank Holidays + Christmas closing.

Application process

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 15th May. Applications, which should consist of a cover letter and CV, including the names and contact details of two referees, should be sent to References will be taken up for short-listed candidates only. If for any reason, a reference should not be taken up at that point, this should be clearly indicated.

It is likely that interviews will be held on Monday 17th June. Shortlisted candidates will be informed on Monday 3rd June. Informal enquiries may be addressed to

Starting and end date

The post is permanent subject to a probationary period of six months.