General Service Staff (G1 - G7)
NOTE: This article is updated for the 2023 requirements.
The functions in the General Service and related categories include administrative, secretarial, and clerical support as well as specialized technical functions such as printing, security and buildings maintenance. There are jobs in all the eight job networks: management and operations support; economic and social development; political, peace and security; information systems and communication technology; legal; public information and external relations; conference management; and safety and security.
The work carried out by General Service staff supports the functioning of the Organization and is typically procedural, operational or technical in nature. The work in these categories ranges from routine duties to varied and complex assignments. The knowledge of the subject matter and higher-level skills are generally developed through long experience and familiarity with applicable procedures, regulations and precedents or projects of the Organization in a narrow technical field or in an administrative support activity. The higher the level of the job, the more complex the functions become along with higher levels of responsibility.
What is United Nations looking for in a candidate for a G (GS) position?
The General Service Staff (G1-G7) in the United Nations (UN) system represents a range of non-professional support staff positions within UN agencies, programs, and funds. These positions generally involve administrative, clerical, technical, and logistical support roles that are essential for the smooth functioning of the organization.
The G1-G7 grades indicate the level of responsibility, qualifications, and experience required for each position. Here is a general description of the roles and responsibilities associated with each grade:
- G1: Entry-level support staff, typically responsible for routine office tasks such as filing, photocopying, or data entry. No prior experience may be required, and only basic education might be necessary.
- G2: Slightly more experienced support staff, responsible for basic office and administrative tasks, with some experience and/or specialized training in office procedures, software, or equipment.
- G3: Intermediate support staff, performing a variety of administrative and clerical tasks, such as managing schedules, organizing meetings, and handling correspondence. May require a higher level of education and several years of relevant experience.
- G4: More experienced administrative and support staff, responsible for specialized tasks in areas such as finance, human resources, or procurement. These positions may require a diploma or a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant experience.
- G5: Senior support staff, overseeing specific administrative or technical functions, managing a small team, or providing specialized support to higher-level staff. A bachelor's degree and significant relevant experience may be required.
- G6: Highly experienced support staff with expertise in specific areas, such as project management, IT, or logistics. These positions may involve managing a team or coordinating complex projects, and they typically require a bachelor's degree and significant relevant experience.
- G7: The highest level of General Service Staff, responsible for overseeing and managing complex projects or teams, and providing expert advice in specific areas. A bachelor's or advanced degree and extensive relevant experience are typically required.
It is important to note that the specific roles and responsibilities associated with each grade may vary between different UN agencies and duty stations. The recruitment process for General Service Staff positions often takes into account the local labor market, and candidates are usually required to have a good knowledge of the local language, culture, and working environment. Additionally, General Service Staff members are often locally recruited, meaning they are hired from the country or region where the position is based.
The minimum standard for all support GS is the completion of high school (secondary school) combined with a number of years of relevant work experience. Selection to GS Fixed-Term Appointment (FTA) positions at Headquarters locations requires passing a UN administered Global General Service Test (GGST), unless conditions are met allowing the waiver of such a requirement.
For GS positions in New York and D.C, the UN GGST test will be waived for current UNDP staff members on FTA/CA/PA appointments and external applicants who have a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognized educational institution.
What education and work experience do I need for General Service (G) category positions?
Completion of secondary (high school) education is a requirement.
In support of National Staff career progression, a UNDP GS staff in Country Offices with a first level university degree in combination with at least 10 years of continuous service with a FTA /CA/PA may be considered for NO posts that have been advertised with the Masters’ degree or equivalent requirement, provided they meet all other selection criteria.
In support of career progression of UNDP GS staff in Headquarters locations, staff possessing a first level university degree in combination with at least 10 years of continuous service with a FTA/CA/PA, may be considered for Professional posts that have been advertised with the Masters’ degree or equivalent requirement, provided they meet all other selection criteria.
These are the work experience requirements for each level:
Level of Appointment High School + Years of Experience Bachelors + Years of Experience
GS-1 (ICS-1) - 0 years 0 years
GS-2 (ICS-2) - 2 years 0 years
GS-3 (ICS-3) - 3 years 0 years
GS-4 (ICS-4) - 4 years 1 years
GS-5 (ICS-5) - 5 years 2 years
GS-6 (ICS-6) - 6 years 3 years
GS-7 (ICS-7) - 7 years 4 years
Who is eligible to be considered for a G (GS) position?
General Service personnel are recruited locally from the area in which an 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.
Staff in the General Service and related categories are generally recruited locally from the area in which the particular office is located but could be of any nationality. As a result, such staff members are usually not expected to move between different duty stations.
At the Organization’s Headquarters in New York, jobs such as drivers, electricians, building management, and printing staff fall under the related category called Trades and Crafts (TC). Similarly, Security Officer jobs in New York are advertised as a separate category called Security (S), and tour guides in New York as Public Information Assistants (PIA). Another related category is the Language Teachers (LT), for which positions can be found only in New York and Geneva. In all other duty stations these jobs are included, and listed, under General Service.
Currently, the following General Service Tests are administered in the UN Secretariat (some of them in New York only):
What qualifications do I need to work in the General Service and related categories?
The following requirements have to be met to be considered for General Service jobs:
- High school diploma or equivalent.
- Minimum age of 18 years.
- Required number of years of work experience relevant to the job and its level, as specified in the job opening.
- Language requirements depending on the job and the location of the office. Most jobs require fluency in one of the two working languages, English or French.
- There might be additional requirements which are listed in the specific job opening. Always check to make sure you meet the minimum requirements for the job for which you are applying.
- Pass the Global General Services Test (GGST) and any specialised test required for specific functions. The test is taken at the duty station in the locality where you wish to apply. For more information on the test, please refer to the GGST section on this page. You may also contact the United Nations offices in New York (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Santiago, Bangkok, Beirut, Addis Ababa, Arusha or The Hague, or contact your nearest United Nations Information Centre or United Nations Development Programme office.
What work experience do I need?
Your work experience should be relevant to the job for which you are applying and each job may also have specific requirements, which are specified in the job opening. For mid-career and senior level positions, progressively responsible work experience is required. As you acquire more relevant work experience you can apply for higher level positions.
You can move from the General Service and related categories to the professional category only by passing a special competitive examination subject to certain conditions.
The GGST is an important initiative in the process of General Service staff selection. Launched in July 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters, the GGST will soon be introduced to other offices away from Headquarters. Available initially in English, the GGST will also be available in French and Spanish depending on the language requirements of the position.
The GGST is a computer-based invigilated/proctored test, which assesses the competencies identified as core to the functions of General Service staff, e.g., communication and planning and organizing, through work-relevant scenarios and tasks.
The three sections of the GGST are: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning and Situational Judgment. The Verbal Reasoning Section tests candidates’ ability to work effectively with written communication. The Numerical Reasoning section tests candidates’ ability to work effectively with numerical data. The Situational Judgment section tests candidates’ ability to work effectively in line with the core United Nations values and competencies.
Applicants interested in working for the United Nations in the General Services category, must first apply for a vacant position advertised on the this website. Once your application has been reviewed and if you meet the requirements, you will be invited to participate in the Global General Services Test (GGST) at the duty station to which you have applied.
Candidates must meet the following requirements to be eligible for consideration for a job as entry-level Security Officer:
- Between the ages of 22 and 35 years at the time of application.
- A high School diploma.
- Excellent physical condition.
- At least two years’ experience with a civilian police force or three years in a military police force. Candidates holding a degree in criminal justice with a minimum of 18 months’ experience in the security field will also be considered.
- Pass the United Nations Security Officer Test. The tests are held when there is a requirement for such positions at the duty station in the locality where you wish to apply. For more information on the test and where to take it, please contact the Organization’s offices in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Santiago, Bangkok, Beirut, Addis Ababa, Arusha or The Hague, or contact your nearest United Nations Information Centre or United Nations Development Programme office.