UNESCO Reviews

Updated August 27, 2015
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31 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Great organization with big challenges

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at UNESCO full-time

    Pros

    What the organization stands for is great and it is filled with good people who believe deeply in what they are working to achieve. Enjoys very good visibility and 'gravitas' amongst society and governments.

    Cons

    Way behind other UN organizations in terms of management and its capacity to deliver. Serious issues in terms of accountability and oversight. Very much in need of reforms but this is hampered by the financial crisis. Too top-heavy/HQ-centric and very little potential for career growth for junior staff. Dual-tiered structure with great pay and benefits for staff, with consultants used as staff but treated significantly worse.

    Advice to Management

    Place greater emphasis on management, accountability and results. Focus more on the field where the real work is happening. Resolve the imbalance between senior posts (too many) and mid-level/junior posts (too few). Stop implementing programmes in areas where other agencies clearly have stronger capacity.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Great international UN exposure, but highly bureaucratic and a mix of employee competencies

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Programmer Officer in Paris (France)
    Former Employee - Assistant Programmer Officer in Paris (France)
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at UNESCO (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is appealing, many of the colleagues are interesting and come from highly varied backgrounds, and the salary and benefits are good. It was fantastic being able to contribute to global development goals and meet key stakeholders in the field. I still believe in the organization's potential, but they would have to seriously clean-house and alter the organizational structure. Too many little chiefs running around with their specific agendas. There was lots of autonomy in terms of work, which was mostly good, though a bit more guidance would have been helpful, though my bosses were always too busy and overwhelmed with their own obligations. Lastly, it had always been a dream of mine to work for UNESCO, so I appreciated the opportunity and was given free-reign to do my work as I deemed best.

    Cons

    Way too disorganized, bureaucratic, and many, too many permanent staff out-of-touch and clinging onto their posh jobs, more concerned about their benefits and personal career advancement than the mission of the agency. The non-permanent staff try a lot harder (though there are a handful of permanent staff that are committed), but are under-appreciated and kept chasing after contracts that last 2, 3 or 6 months tops. It was sort of disappointing to realize that many staff would fight hard for their little perks rather than making an honest effort to just do their jobs or - heaven forbid - try to improve the psychotic, organizational mess of the agency. It's also too bad that I had the impression of spending most of my time on admin tasks rather than substantial project work. Having a trail and updates is important, but shouldn't overshadow what needs to be done. There is little support and unrealistic demands for reaching project goals, as well as little accountability for failed/failing projects, so the money goes down the tube all too often. Almost every week, there was an "emergency" where I had to drop my main duties of what I was supposed to be accomplishing and hurry to backstop and support some other random project deemed of utmost importance that week - and then you'd never hear about it again. Lastly, I was aghast at the superficial rhetoric about gender equality versus the reality of a hidden undercurrent of a quite sexist ambience. Everyone toots how important gender equality is to the organization (it's one of two Global Priorities), but I had 6 different bosses in the hierarchy and aside from the Director-General, with whom I never had any interaction (not that I would have expected it), ALL WERE MEN. Not that that is a bad thing, but how can you speak of promoting and advancing women with that kind of structure? Ridiculous. And guess what, when gender issues came to the table, everyone nodded and agreed, but there was hardly any follow-through.

    Advice to Management

    Training opportunities would be very good. Offer more structured guidance to junior staff and try to promote a reduction in all the paperwork and bureaucracy. Lastly, give more equal opportunities for all staff - non-permanent and permanent, women and men, developing country and developed country nationals. Basically, practice what you preach.


  3. Project Management Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    really good atmoshepre. cool and competent people. really close insight of one big international organisation.

    Cons

    not payed at all. it is hard to deal the 3month internship without any money, not even a lunch ticket although you are supposed to live in Paris and be among the big level professionals. fair possibilities to get employed.


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  5. Good experience as entry-level

    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Geneva (Switzerland)
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Geneva (Switzerland)

    I worked at UNESCO full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    location, friendly staff, interesting work in development

    Cons

    UNESCO's crisis, bureaucracy, low efficiency


  6. Great opportunities to work with creative people for inspiring programs, poor leadership and job security

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at UNESCO full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Stimulating work content if you are interested in the programs; many opportunities to work with creative and smart people; multicultural work environment to sharpen up political and business savvy.

    Cons

    Complicated organization and weak leadership; insecure funding and job sustainability.

    Advice to Management

    Drastic change in both external and internal communication. Realignment of organizational strategy. Improve operations efficiency and human resources management.


  7. culture of peace and non-violence.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    the best reason that pushes me to work at UNESCO because I have worked as a volunteer for over 10 years and I am used to the way they work.

    Cons

    lack of pay, lack of protection in the event of an assignment of risk, lack of office equipment, lack of means of transport.

    Advice to Management

    Please kindly answer us a brief delays.


  8. Assistant Programme Specialist

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Started out with an internship.

    Cons

    Complicated bureaucracy and budget woes.


  9. Overall an interesting learning experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    Rewarding work and interesting colleagues

    Cons

    Excessive bureaucracy and slow procedures


  10. Helpful (1)

    Involved in globally recognized work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at UNESCO full-time

    Pros

    Have credibility when dealing with outside partners Widely considered as a good cause. Plenty of goodwill towards the organization Interesting mandate Good benefits - conditions

    Cons

    Extremely heavy administrative procedures - culture of control, not accountability Too much political meddling in hiring staff Too many staff have been there too long, doing the same thing, lacking motivation, vision Initiative is stifled Remnants of left wing anti-private sector - anti-american attitude from earlier days, but changing with new generation. Career advancement often a function of how much time one invests wooing the various decision-makers as opposed to carrying out one's duties effectively Plenty of staff are tired, unmotivated Currently in a financial crisis - many people have no budget for activities Too many central services staff in proportion to program delivery staff.

    Advice to Management

    Be willing to let some contracts expire and not be renewed Find fresh blood - don't extend people past retirement age


  11. Ambassador of peace

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Messenger of Manifest 2000 in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Current Employee - Messenger of Manifest 2000 in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)

    I have been working at UNESCO full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    the reasons why I work at UNESCO are multiple: because I'm already familiar with the method of work of this organization - I have a long experience of over 10 years with this organization in the field of human rights, culture of peace and non-violence - I'm trained by this organization - I'll feel free to UNESCO

    Cons

    disadvantages in the workplace are much lack of pay, lack of office, lack of transportation, lack of medical care

    Advice to Management

    I can tell the senior management there is a problem of time that must be respected. I give the example to publish the winners of the culture of peace today 4 months. time must be regulated and also inform people who are in the program each time there is a change of something.



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