What it does: Provides social services, humanitarian aid and development assistance for disadvantaged children worldwide.
Best known for: UNICEF is a global organisation which has catered to children and women’s needs in more than 190 countries for over 70 years.
Staff stats: More than 27,000 employees.
The good bits: UNICEF has a very competitive remuneration package for professionals which includes a post adjustment and base salary. The post adjustment is a monthly base salary multiplier that considers the cost of living, exchange rate and inflation changes.
The not so good bits: Job security isn’t guaranteed because most employment opportunities are on a fixed-term or temporary appointment. Fluency in two or more languages will be necessary for career growth.
Hiring grads with top marks in: social studies and development; mass communications and media; economics and law; human resources; science and research; marketing.
UNICEF has provided development assistance and humanitarian aid to children worldwide for more than 70 years. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1946 established the non-government organisation (NGO) to help with relief efforts for young victims of World War II. By 1953, UNICEF became a permanent UN agency to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing nations.
The NGO’s resources originate entirely from private donations and governments. UNICEF projected their total revenue to reach more than US$5.5 billion in 2019, while total revenue by 2021 would exceed US$6 billion. An executive board consisting of 35 individuals, who are elected for three-year terms, oversees the group’s administrative and financial plans, approve proposals and programmes, and establishes new policies.
UNICEF divides its workforce into three categories: International Professional (IP), General Service (GS) and National Officer (NO). IP employees are recruited internationally, while GS and NO employees are selected among local applicants in a certain region or duty station.
The NGO has different ways to screen applicants including written assessments, online tests (e.g. abstract, numerical and verbal reasoning) pre-recorded video assessments and in-person interviews. Graduates should expect the hiring process to take one to four months depending on the position’s urgency. The recruitment timeline also varies per location:
The organisation may hire fundraisers after a few days or more than two months. Interview questions may focus on the things that make you angry, your strengths and weaknesses, and your reason for wanting to join UNICEF.
The hiring process for individual consultants may last for two weeks. The hiring manager and an HR staff member may conduct the interview simultaneously.
Those who apply for positions at the general services administration may wait up to six months to know the outcome of their application. Other roles may require you to relocate into another city.
Applicants for a research internship may have to wait a month before receiving an interview invitation. The process may take a few weeks.
UNICEF may hire interns after two weeks on average. The interview questions will revolve around your academic experience that’s relevant to the job description.
Applicants should be aware that UNICEF doesn’t charge fees or request personal and financial information. The NGO said that criminals have targeted individuals under the guise of fake employment offers with the group.
Graduates can either join UNICEF as an intern or through the Junior Professional Officers (JPO) programme. The organisation requires interns to be at least 18 years old and enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree programme. Interns should be fluent in either English, French or Spanish, and have no immediate family members and relatives working in any UNICEF office.
The JPO programme allows young professionals to gain hands-on experience by working either at UNICEF’s headquarters in New York, USA, in a country or regional office. Your career growth as a JPO will be based on a structured development programme, professional mentoring and counselling, and training through UNICEF’s online learning portal Agora.
Professionals who have at least five years of experience can apply for the New and Emerging Talent Initiative. The programme recruits individuals who are fluent in English, have B2 language skills in another UN language (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish), a master’s degree, and willing to be stationed at any UNICEF office.
UNICEF provides a base salary and post adjustment for IP employees, while NO and GS employees earn salaries based on the local salary scales. The organisation uses a global five-level salary scale for IP staff (P1 to P5) and two levels for directors (D1 to D2). The figures are listed as gross and net salaries. Every organisation that’s part of the UN common system follows the salary scale.
The NGO ensures a healthy work-life balance through paid sick and annual leave, home and family leave, maternity and paternity leave. Other benefits include educational grants, dependency allowances, pension plans, life insurance, medical and dental coverage for employees.
A multicultural work environment awaits individuals who wish to join UNICEF, but it’s common for people to leave the organisation after two years. Fixed-term appointments normally last for two years. UNICEF may choose to renew the contract depending on the necessity for manpower.
Those who are under a temporary appointment work for less than 12 months. Graduates can use their time at UNICEF to improve their skills and be on the lookout for other job opportunities, once they determine that their contracts may not be renewed by the organisation.
Organisations similar to UNICEF include the International Rescue Committee and Amnesty International.
The organisation’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects focus on the Better Business for Children framework. The concept refers to the positive and negative impact of businesses on the lives of children and their rights. UNICEF supports its CSR initiatives through marketing and fundraising projects, sponsored events, emergency appeals and corporate partnerships.
You should have an inherent desire to help children before you consider an internship or fixed-term appoint at UNICEF. Fluency in any of the six official UN languages and further studies will boost your chances of joining the organisation. Be prepared to move on and find a new job after a year or two if UNICEF doesn’t renew your contract.