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(Senior) Sector Adviser - Higher Education

The CBI is the UK’s leading lobbying organisation. We represent 190,000 companies across the UK and work on their behalf to create a business environment that drives economic growth and prosperity for all.

Based at our London Cannon Street office, the CBI’s sector teams are responsible for lobbying on policy positions that help the UK’s leading industries make their full potential contribution to prosperity, and managing relationships with these industries across the CBI’s membership.

Role Summary:

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a highly motivated and commercially-minded individual to lead the CBI’s lobbying and member engagement across the higher education (HE) sector at a crucial time for business and politics.

Reporting into a head of group, as a sector adviser you will enjoy a varied and intellectually stimulating range of work, working alongside and supporting teams of policy professionals, up to director level. There will be engagement with senior HE sector leaders to develop CBI policy, building relations with government officials and politicians, as well as communicating CBI members’ views to a wide range of external audiences.

You will also be responsible for helping to strengthen the CBI’s membership base in HE by supporting the CBI’s commercial teams with the retention and recruitment of sector members.

Depending on experience level, this role would be for a sector adviser or senior sector adviser.

Key Responsibilities:

Policy development

  • Research and analysis of higher education policy, leading the development of CBI policy positions that respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. 
  • Drafting of papers, policy briefs and CBI responses, for example supporting engagement between the CBI leadership team and HE institutions.
  •  Working closely with other CBI policy teams to ensure the sector’s perspectives are represented in key areas of relevance, particularly innovation policy and people & skills issues. 

Interactions with members 

  • Discussion with CBI members individually and at committee meetings, including by establishing networks of contacts across the sector and facilitating roundtable events with senior HE leaders.
  • Supporting  members by sharing CBI policy insight and analysis, both by developing proactive communication strategies and responding to member queries in a timely and professional manner.

Project working

  • Leading project work in support of team goals, including through appropriate use of planning tools and collaboration across different CBI functions such as commercial and communications
  • Managing stakeholders in support of project success, ensuring necessary proactive sharing of information with internal and external audiences

A sector adviser would be expected to demonstrate proficiency in one of the following two competencies, whereas a senior sector adviser would be expected to demonstrate proficiency in both competencies as well as comfort with high levels of autonomy from the head of group:

Communication & lobbying

  • Influencing policy decisions by lobbying UK MPs, civil servants, regulators and EU institutions
  • Representing the CBI’s policy positions at conferences, external meetings and possibly through the media

Relationship management & sales support

  • Establishing relationships with senior leaders within CBI member organisations that work in the HE sector, leveraging the full range of CBI policy, networking and intelligence to drive increased membership retention and satisfaction
  • Supporting the development of sales materials specifically focused on the HE sector including letters, briefings and sales packs

Knowledge & Experience

What an individual must know or understand to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Achieved or due to achieve a 2:1 at degree level or equivalent
  • Demonstrable interest in general public policy
  • Understanding of the workings of business and commercial pressures


The practical actions required in order to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Persuasive influencing skills
  • Stakeholder management
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Tact and diplomacy
  • Organisational skills
  • Teamworking
  • IT literacy

How to Apply

For all applications please email with your CV and a cover letter. 

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