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Mobility and Career Development Framework - Frequently Asked Questions
Why a new staffing system and mobility?
In April 2014, the General Assembly adopted the refined mobility framework (A/RES/68/265) setting the stage for a more strategic and holistic staffing approach to strengthen the capacity of the UN Secretariat to retain a dynamic, adaptable and global workforce that can deliver on increasingly complex mandates.
A centrepiece of this new staffing system is staff mobility; the periodic movement of staff to different roles, functions, departments and duty stations. The objective of making staff mobility an integral and required part of a UN career is to nurture a workforce that is dynamic, adaptable and global; one that can effectively meet current and future mandates and evolving operational needs. Staff who have served in different capacities and duty stations gain wider experience, insights and skills, allowing them to advance their careers and make unique contributions to the UN.
To amplify the concept of mobility, the new staffing system also redefines the way how the staffing process is conducted and how staffing decisions are made. This includes measures to enable mobility across departmental structures based on job networks, introducing standardized assessment methods and a centre-led decision-making process that is aligned with organizational priorities.
The Mobility and Career Development Framework is a key element of a series of human resources transformations in the UN Secretariat over the last decades. While in its early days, the UN Secretariat was a headquarter based organization; about 55 percent of its staff are now based in the field. At the same time the mandates to be delivered have become more complex requiring new HR solutions to retain and deploy the human capital needed for delivering on peace and security as well as the many other purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
To whom does the new staffing system apply?
The new staffing system defines the procedures for filling vacant positions and the placement under managed mobility of eligible staff members in the Professional and higher categories up to the D-2 level and in the Field Service category in entities of the United Nations Secretariat. The placement against rotational positions under managed mobility applies to eligible staff members who have been recruited following a competitive process including review by a review body and who hold a fixed-term, continuing or permanent appointment.
How will this new staffing system work?
The new staffing system will be implemented in a phased manner by job network starting 1 January 2016. It will govern the filling of vacancies and the placement of staff members within job networks that have transitioned into the new staffing system as announced on an annual basis by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management. Accordingly, the new staffing system will run concurrently with the current staff selection system governed by ST/AI/2010/3, as revised or amended until such time all job networks have transitioned into the new system.
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How is mobility defined and what is managed mobility?
A centrepiece of the new staffing system is staff mobility: the periodic movement of staff to different roles, functions, departments/office and duty stations. The objective of making staff mobility an integral and required part of a UN career is to nurture a workforce that is dynamic, adaptable and global. The periodicity of movement is defined by minimum and maximum position occupancy limits. Limits are based on duty station classifications. Going forward staff can move either by applying and being selected for vacancies or by participating in a managed mobility exercise.
Managed mobility is a new process offering lateral movement opportunities for eligible internal staff members within their current job network. Eligible staff may choose to opt in at any time they have reached their post occupancy minimum or they will automatically be enrolled once reaching the maximum. Staff members participate in managed mobility with the position they currently encumber. All vacancies continue to be advertised in the career portal.
What does that mean for me?
The new staffing system with mobility as a key element brings changes to all. Be it that you are a serving staff member, a manager or a potential applicant.
Serving internationally recruited eligible staff members will have to incorporate the mobility requirement into their career planning. Moving forward this requires proactive thinking about career options and how to best pursue them given the position occupancy limits. No longer staff will stay in the same position more than 7 years unless they are exempt. Staff will benefit from a more consistent and standardized recruitment process moving forward.
Managers will have to make adjustments in the way they manage their programmes and teams given that staff will periodically move and the role of the manager in the recruitment process will change. Managers will also benefit from reduced recruitment timelines and a significant decrease of time spent on recruitment associated tasks.
External applicants should duly consider whether employment with the UN is compatible with their career and life aspirations. In particular, you should consider whether you have the needed flexibility to perform not only in different positions but also in different duty stations, some of which may be of a hardship nature.
Where can I find information on career development tools and resources?
Visit the career path and career development pages on the HR Portal. You can take the activities in the career workbook for self-assessments and self-reflection on your career planning, and consider registering for a career coaching session, which can help you gain clarity on what you want to do with your career and how to go about reaching your career goals.
You can review the guidelines on mentoring, a collaborative and knowledge-sharing relationship with another staff member who serves as their mentor, and learn about job-shadowing, which allows you to explore a particular job by observing another staff member. Find out more about cross-training, which provides an opportunity to learn how to do a specific job in order to become professionally well-rounded.
For queries regarding career development, please click on contact us in the upper right corner of the HR Portal and fill out the form. We will direct your query to the team who can assist you.
Applied for a job in the Political, Peace and Humanitarian job network (POLNET) or the Information and Telecommunication Technology job network (ITECNET)? Click here for information on upcoming assessments! (Important)
Mobility and Career Development - At a Glance
Zooming in on Mobility: Facts and Tips for you!
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Leading a global life and serving the people of the world is one of the main motivations for pursuing a career with the UN but also demands a high level of flexibility, an open mind and at times personal sacrifice. Read what staff say about mobility.
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