7 Steps to get a job in the United Nations

Secondment Opportunities in the United Nations and EU

Have you been invited to go on a secondment to the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the United Nations, or some other international organization?

Today we would like to share with you some important information about secondments, what they are, what to look out for, and what questions you might have. Among the secondment program options, the one we may encounter most often is the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) program. However, of course, there are several other types of them.

To begin with, it is worth understanding what is meant by the term secondment.

If we are talking about the private sector, then the company sends its employee to work in another company for a certain period of time. While the employee is in a new position elsewhere, his or her employment rights and wages at his or her main company are preserved. Among the reasons that motivate this activity are investments in the exchange of experience and knowledge between partner companies or the development of the potential of their employee, training him in new skills.

Secondment in the context of the United Nations (UN) or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) refers to a temporary assignment or transfer of an employee from their regular organization to another organization, such as the UN or OSCE, for a specific period of time. During the secondment, the employee works under the supervision of the receiving organization but remains an employee of their original organization.

The purpose of secondment can be to enhance collaboration and partnership between organizations, promote knowledge exchange, develop employee skills, or support the receiving organization with specific expertise or resources. Seconded staff members are often subject matter experts, and their contributions can strengthen the capacity of the receiving organization to fulfill its mandate.

⚠️ 𝐔𝐧𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 #𝐔𝐍 𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞.⁣📍 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐔𝐍 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬


At the end of the secondment period, the employee usually returns to their original organization, applying the experience and knowledge they gained during the secondment to their regular role. It's important to note that secondment arrangements usually involve a formal agreement between the sending and receiving organizations, outlining the terms and conditions, responsibilities, and duration of the secondment.

Two central purposes of the secondment of donors to international organizations are:

  • Developing of the national capacities, building an understanding of the organizations' working precess, and returning that experience home for the benefit of the private and public sectors;
  • Increasing the citizen membership in these organizations and, consequently, increasing national representation as well as impact at these organizations.

There are two main types of secondment, the primary difference between them being salary and benefits packages. Both types of secondment are common although they are each used for a specific purpose.

A clause that is the same and mandatory in both types of contracts is signing a non-disclosure agreement that specifies that you are an employee of the receiving organization and do not get directions from your government for the duration of the contract.

Secondment on conditions of the sending government (the sending donor is the employer).

Here you negotiate salaries with your government, which already has an employment contract that is standard for its international staff. Everything in the benefits package is standardized.

Since administrative issues are not handled by the host organization and the working conditions are easier to negotiate, this type of secondment is most often used when it is necessary to take care of the quick start of the employees.

This type of secondment is also less politicized because there is no employment relationship, the host organization has no need to list seconded personnel in its official diversity reporting.

This type is suitable for those candidates whose aim is to gain knowledge and develop their own skills, and you should understand if you decide to stay with your main organization upon your return or if you aim to leave.

If you decide to stay, you should keep in mind that this type of assignment is less favorable for you, since there is no employment relationship between you and the organization.

There are certain countries where this experience is more favorable for social security and retirement, while in others it is much more favorable to stay in the national retirement system without leaving and returning after some time. In addition, you should note that in most countries the work you do in your new role will be taxable.

Secondment under the conditions of the host organization (host organization - employer)

This type is very advantageous if you decide to stay with a given organization after the assignment period is over, because the working conditions agree exactly with it. In other words, your chances of staying are high due to the employment relationship with the host organization.

You get a standard and very attractive benefits package, in many organizations your income is tax-free. Since some donors have their own pension system, it is worth paying attention to, because if you plan to stay with the organization you have to hurry up and try very hard to get into the pension system.

This type is used to increase the number of citizens and develop your own influence.

Because donors pay huge administrative fees, organizations continue to accept this type of assignment. However, don't take this as a quick fix for all problems, because, unlike the first type, this one is much more politicized and has an impact on reporting on diversity.

Requirements for Secondment in the United Nations

Requirements for secondment to the United Nations (UN) can vary depending on the specific position, department, and level of responsibility. However, there are some general requirements and qualifications that are typically expected of candidates who are being considered for secondment:

📚 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗮 𝗝𝗼𝗯 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗡 𝗶𝗻 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯! 🌍🤝 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗿𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗡 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗨𝗡𝗛𝗖𝗥, 𝗪𝗙𝗣, 𝗨𝗡𝗜𝗖𝗘𝗙, 𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗦𝗦, 𝗨𝗡𝗙𝗣𝗔, 𝗜𝗢𝗠 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀! 🌐

⚠️ 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐰: 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐓𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐖!

Employment status: You must be a current employee of an organization that has a secondment agreement or partnership with the UN.

Education: A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement for most positions, although some positions may require a master's degree or higher, particularly for senior or specialized roles.

Experience: Relevant professional experience is essential for secondment opportunities. The number of years and the specific type of experience required will depend on the position and level of responsibility.

Language skills: Proficiency in at least one of the UN's official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) is often required. Knowledge of additional UN languages or local languages, depending on the duty station, can be an asset.

Specialized knowledge or skills: Depending on the role, specific expertise, technical skills, or knowledge in a particular area may be required, such as human rights, humanitarian affairs, political affairs, or program management.

Soft skills: Seconded staff members should possess strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work effectively in a multicultural environment.

Availability: Candidates for secondment must be available for the entire duration of the secondment assignment and be willing to relocate if necessary.

Endorsement and support: The candidate's current employer must endorse the secondment and be willing to continue paying the employee's salary and benefits during the secondment period.

It's important to note that the specific requirements for secondment may vary depending on the UN agency, program, or position. It is crucial to review the eligibility criteria and requirements for the specific secondment opportunity you are interested in before applying.

Secondment conditions

Secondment conditions can vary depending on the specific agreement between the sending and receiving organizations, as well as the nature of the secondment assignment. Some general secondment conditions that may apply include:

Duration: Secondments usually have a fixed duration, which can range from a few months to several years. In some cases, the secondment period may be extended with mutual agreement between the sending and receiving organizations.

Salary and benefits: The sending organization typically continues to pay the salary and benefits of the seconded staff member during the secondment period. The receiving organization may provide additional allowances or benefits, such as a cost-of-living adjustment, housing allowance, or travel expenses, depending on the assignment and location.

Reporting and supervision: During the secondment, the staff member will usually report to a supervisor within the receiving organization, but they may also be required to maintain communication with their original employer.

Performance evaluations: The seconded staff member's performance may be evaluated by both the receiving organization and the sending organization. The evaluation process and criteria should be agreed upon before the secondment begins.

Training and development: The receiving organization may provide training and development opportunities to the seconded staff member to help them acquire new skills and knowledge relevant to their assignment.

Confidentiality and intellectual property: Seconded staff members may be required to sign confidentiality agreements and adhere to the intellectual property policies of the receiving organization.

End of secondment: At the end of the secondment period, the staff member is expected to return to their original organization. They may be required to provide a report or debriefing on their experiences and the knowledge they gained during the secondment.

Termination of secondment: In some cases, the secondment agreement may be terminated earlier than planned by either the sending or receiving organization due to various reasons, such as unsatisfactory performance, changes in organizational priorities, or personal circumstances.

It is essential to review the specific secondment conditions outlined in the agreement between the sending and receiving organizations before accepting a secondment assignment, as these conditions can vary depending on the organizations and the nature of the assignment.

List of international organizations for secondment

There are numerous international organizations where secondment opportunities may be available. Here is a list of some of the major international organizations that may offer secondment positions:

  1. United Nations (UN) and its various agencies, programs, and funds, such as:
    • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
    • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
    • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
    • World Food Programme (WFP)
  2. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  3. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  4. European Union (EU) and its various institutions and agencies, such as:
    • European Commission
    • European External Action Service (EEAS)
    • European Central Bank (ECB)
    • European Parliament
    • EU Missions (EUAM, EUBAM)
  5. World Bank Group
  6. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  7. World Trade Organization (WTO)
  8. African Union (AU)
  9. Organization of American States (OAS)
  10. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  11. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  12. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  13. International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  14. International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that may offer secondment opportunities. The availability of secondment positions within these organizations will depend on the needs of the organization and the nature of the partnership or agreement with the sending organization.

⚠️ 𝐔𝐧𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 #𝐔𝐍 𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞.⁣📍 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐔𝐍 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬