United Nations Staff Categories

October 2015

UNFPA uses the personnel 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 categories of 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)

Click here to learn about other kinds of employment and opportunities, including consultancies, at UNFPA.

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.

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.

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

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.

Other opportunities

What other kinds of employment and opportunities does UNFPA offer?

UNFPA also hires personnel through non-staff service contracts and consultancies. Other opportunities – including internships and volunteer roles – are also available. Visit this page for more information.

UNFPA also participates in the Junior Professional Officer programme. Click here for more information.