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Strengthening the UN

Human Resources


1949: Field Locations: 19%; NewYork: 66%; Other offices: 15%

Total staff members: 1,549

  • New York: 1018
  • Other offices: 231
  • Field locations: 300

As of 1949


Total staff members: 39,500

2010: Peacekeeping missions: 52%; Headquarters: 32%; Regional commissions: 7%; Other field locations: 4%; Tribunals: 5%
  • Headquarters: 12,696
    (New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi) 
  • Regional commissions: 2,689 
  • Other field locations: 1,553
  • Tribunals: 1,842
  • Peacekeeping missions: 20,720

As of April 2010

The biggest asset of the United Nations is the knowledge, skills, experience and enthusiasm of its staff. To make the best use of this valuable resource, the UN Secretariat has worked on a series of human resources reform initiatives to create a global, dynamic and adaptable workforce for the 21st century.

Over the last few years, the General-Assembly approved a number of human resources reform proposals that paved the way for the establishment of an integrated Global Secretariat, the harmonization of conditions of service and the modernization of the HR management framework of the UN Secretariat (see in particular resolutions 63/250, 65/247 and 65/248):

Streamlined contractual arrangements: Effective 1 July 2009, 16 types of employment contracts were consolidated into one contract with three types of appointments:

Harmonized conditions of service: In December 2008, the General Assembly aligned the conditions of service of the field with that of the rest of the Secretariat, thus establishing a Global Secretariat:

In December 2010, the General Assembly adopted proposals made by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), including

The harmonization package will take effect on 1 July 2011 across the UN Common system, with a five year transitional phase for Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

Talent Management:  A newly launched system of human resources management integrates different Human Resources processes (workforce planning, staff selection and recruitment, performance management, learning and career development) and consolidates multiple IT systems for the field and Headquarters. Once fully implemented, the Talent Management framework will yield a strengthened internal capacity to plan, execute, monitor and report on Human Resources issues across the Global Secretariat and better equip the Organization to meet current and future staffing needs. 

Staff mobility: The Secretary-General is committed to the concept of staff mobility to meet the needs of the Organization in duty stations around the world and to offer staff members the opportunity to acquire new skills, broaden their knowledge, and gain experiences in different areas of responsibility. Over the last few years, various initiatives have been launched to support staff mobility, including the Managed Reassignment Programme for junior professionals, inter-agency mobility within the UN common system, and VINEs, the Voluntary Initiative for Network Exchange, that facilitates mobility in eight job networks.

Gender balance
in the United Nations

  • Overall 32.8% of staff are female.
  • 48.7% at HQ and Regional Commissions.
  • 20.2% in field operations.
  • 22.6% of Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General are female.
  • 26.8% of Directors are women.
  • 40.4% of professionals are women.

As of November 2010

Geographical distribution
in the United Nations  

  • 2,978 staff are recruited against posts subject to geographical distribution.
  • Within the category of posts subject to geographic distribution, in 2010, 13 Member States were unrepresented and 17 under-represented.

As of November 2010