United Nations Staff Categories (2023)

UNFPA uses thepersonnel categories employed across the United Nations system. Within each category, there are different levels, which reflect increasing levels of responsibilities and requirements. The information in this section will help you decide which personnel category, and what level, you fit into. This will be useful when you start searching and applying for jobs.

Broadly speaking, there are three distinct staff categories for personnel at UNFPA, and in the UN system as a whole. Click on the categories below for more information:

Professional (P) and Director (D) staff
General Service (G) staff
National Professional Officers (NO)

There are also other kinds of employment and opportunities at UNFPA and in the UN. These are not necessarily staff positions, but they are roles that support UNFPA's work around the world. Click below to learn more:

Temporary staff (also called Temporary Appointments)
United Nations Volunteers
Junior Professional Officer
Service contract holders

(Video) United Nations - Staff Categories | Staff Categories in United Nations

Click here to learn about UNFPA’s language requirements.

Professional and Director-level staff

What are Professional (P) and Director (D) positions?

P and D positions require strong analytical and communication skills, substantial experience and, often, solid leadership ability. There are a variety of jobs within this categories, ranging from programme specialists and operations experts to communications specialists, information systems professionals, and many others. These positions are normally internationally recruited.

Directors represent the highest level on UNFPA’s career staffing structure. As a Director, you’re expected to manage a team, determine priorities and allocate resources for an entire office or unit.

What is UNFPA looking for in a candidate for a P or D position?

We are looking for someone who is first and foremost absolutely committed to UNFPA's mandate!

In addition to technical expertise, which varies by position, we want a strategic thinker who achieves results, an excellent communicator who is a full-time advocate for the organization, and a team player who embraces the tremendous diversity of our workforce.

What education and work experience do I need for P or D positions?

Generally, we require that you have an advanced university degree for P- and D-level positions.

These are the work experience requirements for each level:
P1 - No work experience required
P2 - Minimum of 2 years of work experience
P3 - Minimum of 5 years of work experience
P4 - Minimum of 7 years of work experience
P5 - Minimum of 10 years of work experience
D1 - Minimum of 15 years of work experience
D2 - More than 15 years of work experience

Why are personnel in the P and D categories considered international staff?

Personnel in these categories are normally internationally recruited, meaning that they are hired to work at an office (duty station) outside of their home country. You can expect to serve at different duty stations around the world over the course of your career.

For headquarters and regional office posts, all nationalities are welcome to apply.

General Service staff

What are General Service (G) positions?

General Service roles include administrative, secretarial and clerical support as well as specialized positions such as building maintenance. These positions are crucial the smooth operation of the organization as a whole. The higher the level of the job, the more complex the functions become.

(Video) UN Staff Categories | United Nations Placement Guidance

What is UNFPA looking for in a candidate for a G position?

Because General Service staff support the functioning of UNFPA, we are looking for candidates who achieve results in operational, procedural and technical capacities.

A commitment to making UNFPA successful is essential! We want someone who is analytical and can handle routine to complex tasks with dedication.

We also want an excellent teammate who embraces diversity and is eager to provide creative ideas for improving UNFPA processes.

What education and work experience do I need for General Service (G) category positions?

Completion of secondary (high school) education is a requirement.

These are the work experience requirements for each level:
G1 - No work experience required
G2 - Minimum of 2 years of work experience
G3 - Minimum of 3 years of work experience
G4 - Minimum of 4 years of work experience
G5 - Minimum of 5 years of work experience
G6 - Minimum of 6 years of work experience
G7 - Minimum of 7 years of work experience

Who is eligible to be considered for a G position?

General Service personnel are recruited locally from the area in which a office/duty station is located. They can be of any nationality, but should be legally permitted to work in the country where the office/duty station is located.

National Professional Officers

What are National Professional Officer (NO) positions?

NO roles are similar to Professional (P) roles, but they are normally locally recruited, meaning these staff are recruited to work at a duty station in their home country.

NO positions usually have a national context, i.e. functions that require national experience or knowledge of the national language, culture, institutions and systems.

Jobs for National Professional Officers can only be found in non-headquarters duty stations.

What education and work experience do I need for National Professional Officer (NO) category positions?

Normally, it is required that you have an advanced university degree for the National Officer level positions.

(Video) UN Jobs Salary Scale | United Nations Salary Range

These are the work experience requirements for each level:
NOA - No work experience required
NOB - Minimum of 2 years of work experience
NOC - Minimum of 5 years of work experience
NOD - Minimum of 7 years of work experience

Temporary staff

UNFPA hires temporary staff internationally and locally for limited periods to perform staff functions for which there is no ongoing, long-term need, for example to replace a staff member on extended leave or to work on a project. Due to the short-term nature of the engagement, staff on temporary positions do not receive the full benefits package received by our regular staff. International temporary positions are normally advertised through e-Recruit. Local positions are often advertised locally.

Individual consultants

People are occasionally retained by UNFPA as individual consultants to provide specialized non-staff related functions required by UNFPA on a short-term or intermittent basis to meet a particular requirement. Due to the widely varying needs met by these types of assignments, the means of sourcing individual consultants and the related terms and conditions will vary as appropriate. Some consultancies are posted at unfpa.org/jobs. Others are posted at the country level. Potential candidates may also apply to UNFPA's consultant roster. See more here.

Internship programme

The UNFPA Internship Programme offers a small group of outstanding students the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to UNFPA operations. It is designed to complement development oriented studies with practical experience in various aspects of UNFPA work. Applicants should have an interest in the field of development; ability to adapt to new environments and work with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Interns work under the supervision of a staff member at UNFPA. The background of the interns is matched with the needs of the organization. See more here.

Qualifying for an Internship

Candidates for the internship programme are selected on a competitive basis. The profiles of the interns are matched with the needs of the organization. Applicants should be enrolled in a degree programme at an accredited university or in a similar educational programme. Applicants must have written and spoken proficiency in English; fluency in French, Spanish or Arabic is an asset.

Financial Aspects

Interns do not receive any remuneration from UNFPA. The costs associated with participation in the programme must be assumed either by the nominating institution (which may provide financial assistance to its students) or by the students themselves, who will have to meet living expenses as well as make their own arrangements for accommodation, travel and other requirements. In addition, applicants must have medical insurance for the duration of the internship. Proof of insurance will need to be submitted before the internship begins.

Application Procedure

Applicants interested in participating in UNFPA’s Internship Programme at Headquarters in New York shouldapply through e-Recruit. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For information about internships outside headquarters, please contact the relevant UNFPA office.

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United Nations Volunteer Programme

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. The UNV programme partners with governments and with UN, non-profit and private sector organizations in order to support development programmes. The UNV programme identifies and engages professionals who can deliver services and fulfill a wide range of specialised tasks to work as United Nations Volunteers.

UNFPA is one of the UN partners which utilizes the services of United Nations Volunteers engaged by the UNV programme to help deliver its mandate.

For more information: If you are interested in learning more about the UNV programme please go UNV’s website (www.unv.org) to see what kind of opportunities are available and to find details on how to apply.

Junior Professional Officer

UNFPA also participates in the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme.JPOs are sponsored by their government (or in some limited cases a JPO programme-participating government may sponsor a small number of developing country nationals).

The purpose of the JPO programme is to provide young people (normally under 32 years of age) who want to pursue a career in development assistance with professional experience within the United Nations system.

Clickherefor more information.

Service contract holders

UNFPA sometimes engages personnel in its field locations as non-staff service contract holders. Service contract holders are often not located in a UNFPA office but with an implementing partner. Service contracts are issued in increments from 6 months up to one year.

Service contract holders must be nationals of, or hold a work permit in, the country of employment. Typically, they work in support of the project activities of implementing partners, provide a government with additional personnel with technical or operational skills, or support functions that would normally be outsourced to a company (e.g., janitor, gardener).

There are five types of service contracts:

SB1- This represents work in the custodial, maintenance, security, driving and messenger areas; this is considered mechanical and physical operations.
SB2- This represents work of a more basic processing, support nature, including clerical and secretarial work as well as certain technical functions; this work requires appropriate educational background and relevant work experience.
SB3- This represents work of a specialized and comprehensive support nature, progressing to integrated execution at the higher level; this work requires appropriate educational background and relevant work experience.
SB4- This represents work of an analytical nature, requiring basic conceptual comprehension; this work requires appropriate educational background and relevant work experience.
SB5- This represents work of a conceptual, analytical and advisory nature at the higher professional level, related to development, humanitarian and emergency project work that requires substantive innovation and may involve functions that are supervisory in nature to oversee project activities. Qualifications at this level include a postgraduate degree and relevant experience commensurate with the job.

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Service contracts are often advertised locally. For more information contact the UNFPA office in your area.

Language requirements

What languages do I need to know to be considered for a job at UNFPA?

An excellent command of English is required to work at UNFPA. In rare cases, a working knowledge of English and fluency in the language of the duty station is sufficient. Language requirements will always be indicated in the job description for a position.

The official languages of the United Nations are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Knowing languages in addition to the job description requirements is considered an asset.


How to pass the UN written test? ›

Practice reading in the language in which you are going to take the test for the Verbal Reasoning section. Practice basic arithmetic skills such as calculating percentages and changes in percentages. Familiarise yourself with the United Nations Core Values and Competencies Framework.

What are the categories of the UN? ›

The main bodies of the United Nations are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. All were established under the UN Charter when the Organization was founded in 1945.

What are the three 3 categories of employees? ›

Let's explore each type in detail.
  • Type 1: The Freeloader. These are those looking for a source of income; not for a job. ...
  • Type 2: The Worker. These are those actually looking for a job. ...
  • Type 3: The Entrepreneur. These are those pursuing a higher purpose. ...
  • Conclusion. ...
  • What do you think?
Feb 23, 2016

What are the 6 employee types? ›

Here are 6 types of employees, and how managers can help them produce their best work:
  • The Social Butterfly. ...
  • The Leader. ...
  • The Harsh Critic. ...
  • The Introvert. ...
  • The Procrastinator. ...
  • The Recent Graduate.
Feb 19, 2023

What are the five categories of UN efforts? ›

The work of the United Nations covers five main areas:
  • Maintain International Peace and Security.
  • Protect Human Rights.
  • Deliver Humanitarian Aid.
  • Support Sustainable Development and Climate Action.
  • Uphold International Law.

How many UN staff are there? ›

Total number of personnel in 2021: 119,870
UN WOMEN812934
80 more rows

What are the 5 structures of United Nations? ›

The Structure of the United Nations
  • The General Assembly.
  • The Security Council.
  • The Secretariat with the Secretary-General.
  • The Economic and Social Council.
  • The International Court of Justice.
  • The Trusteeship Council.

What is UN p4 level salary? ›

Wondering how much a P-4 is paid? The base salary is usually between 90,970 USD and 117,287 USD per year. It's common to have salary adjustments depending on the location.

How much does a p4 earn in UN? ›

The salary for this job should be between 120,171 USD and 154,936 USD.

How much does a p4 get paid in the UN? ›

The salary for this job should be between 126,084 USD and 162,560 USD.

What are the categories of employee status? ›

The three main types of employment status are: worker. employee. self-employed.

How do you define employee categories? ›

What is employee classification? There are a number of classifications into which an employee might fall. These classifications include: Full-time, Part-time, Temporary, Intern and Seasonal. Employees are usually classified based on the hours worked, the expected duration of the job, and the job duties.

What are the 4 ways that we classify employees? ›

Employees in the workplace can be categorized in several ways. Within the standard employment type, an employee is either a full-time employee, a part-time employee, an on-call employee, or a classified employee.

What are the 7 types of employees? ›

Types of employees
  • Full-time.
  • Part-time.
  • Casual.
  • Fixed term.
  • Shiftworkers.
  • Daily hire and weekly hire.
  • Probation.
  • Apprentices and trainees.
Jul 12, 2022

What are the 7 types of staffing? ›

The staffing function includes recruitment, selection, training, development, transfer, promotion and compensation of personnel.

What are the 4 pillars of the United Nations? ›

The Preamble of the UN Charter describes four areas that are the pillars of the UN: Peace and Security; Human Rights; The Rule of Law; and, Development.

Who are the Big Five in the United Nations? ›

Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term year): Albania (2023) Brazil (2023)

What are the 6 principles of the United Nations? ›

Most work, however, is delegated to six main committees: (1) Disarmament and International Security, (2) Economic and Financial, (3) Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural, (4) Special Political and Decolonization, (5) Administrative and Budgetary, and (6) Legal.

What is a p5 position UN? ›

This kind of contract is known as Professional and Director staff. It is normally internationally recruited only. It's a staff contract. It usually requires 10 years of experience, depending on education.

What is a g5 UN salary? ›

The salary for this job should be more than 7,010 USD.

Do UN employees get paid well? ›

The UN generally pays well

There's a wide range of salaries within the UN system, but generally, the pay is good. The UN has a specific pay structure for Field service and Professional & higher categories. The salary level for Professional staff is set by referring to the highest-paying national civil service.

How much does a g6 position at UN make? ›

The salary for this job should be more than 7,724 USD.

Do UN staff pay tax? ›

Many UN employees have a unique tax status and are not assumed to be normal tax residents yet holding investments which come under withholding tax regimes could lead to paying unnecessary taxes.

What does g6 mean in UN salary scale? ›

This is a G-6 contract. This kind of contract is known as General Service and related categories. It is normally only for nationals. It usually requires 6 years of experience, depending on education.

How to pass international English test? ›

Following these 5 tips can help you prepare and ace the IELTS Exam:
  1. Study vocabulary. English learners are taught to put words into the proper context as much as possible. ...
  2. Read, read and read. ...
  3. Enhance your writing skills. ...
  4. Exercise fluency and pronunciation. ...
  5. Practice your listening skills.
Dec 24, 2022

How to study for UN? ›

Examples of what to study to increase your chances to work in the UN system?
  1. Development studies.
  2. Human rights.
  3. International relations.
  4. International Development.
  5. International Law.
  6. Communication.
  7. Journalism.
  8. Public administration.
Jan 8, 2023

Is it hard to get into UN? ›

It is generally hard to get a job at the UN. The main reasons UN jobs are difficult to get include language requirements, high competition, specific needs for skills and experience, high-level education, the often-complex UN recruitment process and that the UN wants to recruit a diversely as possible.

How do you get selected for the UN? ›

To be selected as secretary-general, a candidate must receive the votes of at least nine members of the United Nations Security Council, with no vetoes from permanent members. The secretary-general is then appointed by a majority vote of the United Nations General Assembly.

What is the hardest international exam? ›

1. Gaokao Exam in China. This is one of the most challenging exams in the world, necessary for applicants who wish to pursue undergraduate courses in China. Students in their third and final year of high school take the Gaokao (高考).

Which English test is easiest to pass? ›

Between the PTE and the TOEFL test, the PTE has more sections that are specifically gauged towards measuring speaking and also the items are easier compared to that of the TOEFL test. Bear in mind that the TOEFL speaking is an integrated one. So the winner for the speaking section is the PTE test.

Which English test is easy for USA? ›

The tests that US universities and colleges most commonly accept are: Cambridge Assessment English (CAE) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Do you need a PHD to work at the UN? ›

A Masters degree is generally the minimum qualification for most professional UN positions, or an undergrad plus two years relevant work experience (in lieu of the masters degree).

Does the United Nations pay well? ›

For entry level professionals (P1 - P3) the annual net base salary for example can range from USD 37,000 - 80,000 (obviously this can range from organization and is used as a guideline only). Having said that, salaries, grants and allowances paid by the United Nations are normally exempt from income tax!

Can you work for the UN without a degree? ›

CAN I WORK FOR THE UN WITHOUT A DEGREE. The simple and straight answer is Yes. Many people shy away from applying for positions at the United Nations because they feel that they are less qualified. Most of the people only possess a high school diploma and some few years of experience and they lack a bachelor's degree.

Is UN job stressful? ›

As a huge organization, the UN is difficult to navigate. Settling into a career in such a complex system is frustrating to many people. Recruitment, job structure, and trying to move up in the organization are frequent sources of stress for workers.

What is the easiest UN job to get? ›

UN Volunteers

As a volunteer programme, UNV is considered one of the easiest jobs to get at the UN. UNV is managed through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UN Volunteers can be deployed abroad, or work in their own country or online, all factors that contribute to the ease of getting a UNV position.

How long do you have to work for UN? ›

Successful applicants are offered one year fixed term contracts which are normally renewed for a second year subject to satisfactory performance. Certain partner governments sponsor assignments of up to four years. Salaries correspond with those of entry-level UN professional staff (P1 - P2).

How long does it take to hear back from UN interview? ›

If your Interview is succeeded you will receive a job offer on the email after 1 - 2 weeks (sometimes it may even after 1 month).

How many candidates are usually shortlisted for interview in UN? ›

A short-list of candidates should consist of a minimum of two and (generally) a maximum of four candidates.


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