Consultants and Individual contractors are experts in a professional field with specific skills and knowledge engaged to support United Nations programmes and projects.
Consultants are normally engaged in an advisory or consultative capacity work and perform result-orientated tasks of a temporary nature for which there is no continuing need in the UN and which the Organisation is unable to meet from within the staff. Typical consultants’ assignments include analysing problems, directing seminars or training courses, preparing documents for conferences and meetings or writing reports on matters within their area of expertise on whichever their advice or assistance is sought.
Categories of consultancy contracts and nature of work vary a lot. These positions are similar to staff positions, but consultants are engaged to work on short-term projects with a typical contract duration of 6-12 months. Accordingly, the requirements, terms and conditions vary a lot from one contract to another.
Consultancy positions are open in the UN Headquarters, regional and local UN offices around the world and are hired throughout the year to work under specific projects on an “as needed” basis. They are recruited nationally (nationality restrictions) or internationally (no work permit or nationality restrictions), and may be office-based, home-based, and may also require travel.
As mentioned above, different levels of consultancy positions exist, starting from entry level (P-2) and going up to P-5. It is strongly recommended to read the job announcement carefully before applying and make sure that all the requirements are met.
Young professionals may consider applying to those openings which are open across entry level staff positions (P-2). The typical requirements are as follows:
- Completed Master’s (or higher) degree in a relevant area
- 2 years of relevant work experience
- Fluent in English/French and working language of the local language
It is common practice in many UN departments to offer such contracts to interns upon the end of the internship. Please kindly note that this is subject to the section’s needs, funds availability, satisfaction with interns’ work and other factors.
The specific advantages of consultancy contracts in comparison to other UN career options are as follows:
- Paid contracts. The fees paid under these contracts vary a lot, depending on the experience required, location, funds availability, and many other factors.
- Much easier to get in comparison to staff positions
- Relevant professional experience Networking opportunities
But: Consultants are not entitled to all staff benefits
How to Apply
The United Nations runs a selection system for consultants through the UN Inspira System. Candidates should prepare the application form called the Personal History Profile (PHP) and submit it to the My Consultant Roster. The PHP form includes a profile section (My Profile), an application form and a cover letter to be compiled and submitted online. Consultants’ profiles are reviewed by hiring departments on an “as needed” basis.
Registered consultants are able to manage their own profile and roster status when and as required, either to update their personal information or even to withdraw themselves from the roster.