Consultants and Individual contractors are experts who are engaged to work on short-term projects as non-staff members. These categories are available both for young professionals with limited work experience and recognised experts. Typically, the employment conditions vary a lot from one contract to another and carry very few benefits as compared to staff members.
A consultant is determined as an individual who is a recognised authority or expert in a professional field, with special skills or knowledge not possessed by UN staff members.
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 Organisation 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.
An individual contractor is determined as an individual engaged from time to time under temporary contracts to provide expertise, skills or knowledge for the performance of a specific task or piece of work of a short-term nature in exchange for payment of an all-inclusive fee. Typical individual contractors’ work assignments may involve full-time or part-time functions similar to those of staff members, such as the provision of translation, editing or secretarial/clerical and part-time maintenance services.
The location of work assignments is subject to a particular work assignment and may be at UN Headquarters or at any of their regional, country or project offices around the world.
The requirements for candidates depend on a particular work assignment and vary from one contract to another. It is strongly recommended to read the job announcement carefully before applying and make sure that all the requirements are met.
Working conditions of Consultants and Individual Contractors vary a lot. Typical general conditions for the services of consultants and individual contractors are available in the Materials section of the website of YPUN.
Contract fees. The fees paid under these contracts vary a lot, depending on the experience required, location, funds availability, and many other factors.
Duration. The duration of contracts is determined by the hiring section, but is subject to UN rules. Generally, an Individual contractor is allowed to work 6 full months (the effective working period) within any period of 12 consecutive months. Consultants can be hired for 24 months (the effective working period) within any 36 month period. After reaching the maximum working period limit, it is required to take a break.
Further employment. UN rules indicate that contractors and individual contractors may not apply or be appointed to any post in the professional or above categories in the Secretariat within six months of the end of their service.
Enrolment periods and deadlines
Individual contractors and Consultants are hired throughout the year to work under specific projects on an “as needed” basis. Therefore, there are no particular timeframes nor deadlines for consultant and individual contractor hiring.
However, it is common practice in many sections 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.
How to apply
In 2014 the United Nations Secretariat has implemented a selection system for consultants through Inspira – a special UN recruitment system.
Professionals with relevant experience who are interested in being considered for employment as Consultants or Individual contractors should register on Inspira and enter their profiles in the UN Secretariat consultants roster.
Registered consultants will be 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.
Selected candidates will be contacted directly by the hiring team.
For more information on Inspira, please see the official UN guidelines “How to get started with Inspira” in the Materials section of YPUN – Young Professionals United Nations Webpage.