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Have questions about working at United Nations? Read answers to frequently asked questions to help you make a choice before applying to a job or accepting a job offer.

Whether it's about compensation and benefits, culture and diversity, or you're curious to know more about the work environment, find out from employees what it's like to work at United Nations.

All answers shown come directly from United Nations Reviews and are not edited or altered.

57 English questions out of 57

May 4, 2022

What is paid time off like at United Nations?

Pros

the job came with a lot of flexibility as far as time off and work hours

Cons

There was a lot of work. Sometimes, we were severely understaffed.

the job came with a lot of flexibility as far as time off and work hours

May 4, 2022

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May 15, 2021

Does United Nations offer relocation assistance?

Pros

30-days annual leave. Great benefits package.

Cons

Work culture sucks. Hierarchical and top-down. The system doesn't encourage creativity or risk-taking. The bosses tend to be micro-managing.

Great benefits package.

May 15, 2021

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December 7, 2021

Does United Nations offer massages?

Pros

International working teams, great exposure to multilateral decision-making, great benefits and salaries, free language classes

Cons

Very limited opportunities for professional growth, extremely poor management, benefits and salaries are pretty outrageous given the lack of professional ethics at the highest levels of management

Advice to Management

Accountability should not be an empty word.

making, great benefits and salaries, free language classes

December 7, 2021

See answer

March 15, 2021

Does United Nations offer dental insurance?

Pros

-great benefits (by US standards), like a full coverage insurance policy, including vision and dental, 30 vacation days a year (though YMMV as far as actually being able to take them in practice), and maternity/paternity leave -ok salary -opportunity to work abroad and travel internationally (though YMMV) -ok work/life balance (though YMMV) -colleagues from all over the world, lots of interesting and smart people -opportunities to learn other UN official languages via the free language classes at the UN

Cons

-rampant bad/incompetent management throughout the organization. I know numerous colleagues from all pay grade levels and work areas, and the vast majority of them have issues with their manager. Common issues are micromanagement and poor project management skills, with everything getting frantically done at the last minute instead of adequately planned out in advance -the direct manager has too much power over you, your work and your life. They can turn down vacation requests, they can dump unreasonable amount of work on you, they can preclude you from pursuing professional opportunities like going on a temporary appointment with another agency or UN entity, and they can bully you as much as they want. The various mechanisms that are supposed to deal with this--like the ombudsman's office or the ethics office--are useless. Thus, you might end up having a great career with colleagues that are like your second family and enjoying the full 30 days of vacation you are entitled to every year, or you might end up being overworked, miserable, and not being able to take any vacation for years. There is no way to tell in advance what your experience will be like. The UN interview process--only virtual, even before COVID--gives you no glimpse into the culture of the particular team you might be working with. It's a huge gamble. -if you are an American, you have to pay taxes on your UN income while your colleagues from every other country do not. The worst part is not even the financial pain (the UN reimburses most of them), it's the hassle of dealing with two utterly unhelpful bureaucracies (the UN tax office and the IRS). Instead of having your taxes deducted from your salary and getting a W2 like in a normal job, at the UN you have to calculate your quarterly estimated tax payments and pay them yourself, and then at the end of the tax year you get a statement of taxable earnings and have to either do your taxes by hand (good luck trying to get a tax software accurately deal with your UN employment situation) or spend big bucks on an accountant. In addition, the UN has its own internal taxation system (the staff assessment) which are NOT tax deductible. Thus, if you are an American you end up earning 10% less than your international colleagues, even after getting the partial tax reimbursement from the UN -the salary system is idiosyncratic. First, your salary is dependent entirely on your pay grade and salary step, regardless of the actual job, so an admin assistant and an economist at the same pay grade end up earning the same amount. It is also structured such that you get an insignificant raise with every promotion, because your raise is tied to your current pay grade/step and because the insurance premium increases with increasing salary. Finally, people with children get all kinds of financial perks like educational grant for their children (up to age 25 I believe!) and dependency allowance, with single/childless employees not getting anything equivalent. Your colleague could be earning double your salary just because he has 5 children, for example. Basically, the salary is lucrative for non-Americans who don't have skills that are valued in the private sector and who wish to have many children. If you don't fall into this category, you won't be too thrilled with your compensation package. -the bureaucracy is as maddening and as bad as they say. I spent most of my first year at the UN actively trying to resolve various bureaucratic problems. While many companies told their employees at the beginning of the pandemic that they can work from home until at least 2021, the UN kept extending our WFH arrangement a few months at a time and you needed to get your manager's permission and jump through bureaucratic hoops to leave NY. The pandemic also highlighted the second-class status of single people at the UN, as they had a harder time getting approval to leave NY and they were also pressured to return to the office more than their married colleagues -most of the male employees are married with stay-at-home wives and lots of children and are somewhat chauvinistic, while a lot of the female employees are single and feminist. This creates a rather INTERESTING cultural dynamic at work, to say the least...

Advice to Management

sometimes when the house is falling apart it's easier to tear it down and build a new one from scratch rather than keep trying to fix it. I think such is the case with our organization

great benefits (by US standards), like a full coverage insurance policy, including vision and dental, 30 vacation days a year (though YMMV as far as actually being able to take them in practice), and maternity/paternity leave

March 15, 2021

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November 6, 2021

Does United Nations have a pension plan?

Pros

Good pay, 2.5 annual leave days per month, pension scheme, good health insurance (Cigna)

Cons

Government employees have more holidays than UN employees

Advice to Management

When the government announces additional days off as official public holidays on an exceptional basis through a public announcement, UN employees should also be given these days off.

Good pay, 2.5 annual leave days per month, pension scheme, good health insurance (Cigna)

November 6, 2021

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57 English questions out of 57

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