FAO of the UN Reviews | Glassdoor

FAO of the UN Reviews

Updated July 18, 2017
40 reviews

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3.1
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FAO of the UN Director General José Graziano da Silva
José Graziano da Silva
11 Ratings

40 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • South Sudan office could be let go and no one would notice; Not a lot of job mobility of career opportunities (in 3 reviews)

  • Staff posts are awardes with political motive, and not based on merit or proven efficacy (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "An institution in decline with racist and immature leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at FAO of the UN (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Institution dedicated to the welfare of agriculture, which includes bulk of the world's poor with the intent to make things better for them

    Cons

    - It belies the objective of its existence
    - Bureaucratic with immature egoist leadership

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of most yourself, for the institution's sake; it is declining and deserves to; because you lead it!


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Good people making good efforts on a tough job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Officer
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Officer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at FAO of the UN full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I retired after 20 years at FAO, both in the field in Asia and Africa, and at HQ in Rome. I worked in more than 25 countries and resoundingly felt camaraderie and a sense of shared purpose with colleagues. People I worked with were almost universally very intelligent, disciplined and hard working. But the job is a highly complex one! Agricultural development involves economic, ecological and social considerations, to be addressed at a local context, with local communities and covering a domain of action, for FAO, of the entire planet (land and seas). The diversity and complexity of the challenges are enormous. Nevertheless, very good work does emerge from the efforts of the organization that has real impact.

    FAO is far more functional, creative and less micro-managed and far less politically driven than USAID, where I also worked, for 7 years.

    It does a good job at being a truly, politically neutral forum for discussion among the member states. As such, if FAO didn't exist, the world would have to create something like it.

    FAO is not subject to corporate interests, which sometimes results in friction with, and attacks by, for example, the sugar and pesticides industries.

    Cons

    HQ has, since the arrival of the current DG, become enmeshed in reorganizing and restructuring the way it manages itself and its work. While the effort was certainly needed, it's been a long and painful process and many staff have become submerged by bureaucratic tasks and constraints. I do believe they can and will learn from their efforts and gradually improve over time.

    FAO has become too politically correct in the sense that, in an effort to be more geographically 'balanced', staff positions are awarded more for what country you hail from rather than what your skills and experience are. The result is people with limited or inappropriate experience at senior management levels.

    The position of DG has for the past three individuals been held by people with more political ambition than management sense. Before Da Silva, the previous DGs pushed to have three six-year terms each! 18 years is far too long to have a single DG and they became little emperors. The current DG said he would retire after three years, and then changed his mind. He's put Brazilian friends in positions at all levels, especially upper echelon, who are doing mediocre jobs. To do this, Da Silva is 'overseeing' and interfering with the staff selection process rather than trust the process and less senior management. This is a waste of his time and results in poor outcomes and contributes to an overall sense of dis-empowerment.

    Da Silva, in an effort to please Council members, is cutting benefits to staff to a point that will discourage attracting new, good people.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to and trust your experienced mid-and upper-level staff people better.

  3. "Poor organisation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at FAO of the UN full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The salary and benefits are good when working as a staff member.
    Possibilities to work at different locations around the world.

    Cons

    The organization is top-down and outdated. Management is using intimidation techniques to keep people down.
    The mandate of FAO did not evolve with time, it lacks to address current global issues related to food and agriculture.
    Making career as a professional is nearly impossible these days, except when you have the right contacts.
    Consultants are poorly paid with very limited or no benefits at all.
    Professional staff rotates positions regardless of their performance.

    Advice to Management

    Restructure the organization from top to bottom.
    Stop promoting permanent staff to higher positions when you know they suck at their current job.
    Treat staff with respect.
    Stop being arrogant to partners.


  4. "Communications Officer"

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

    I have been working at FAO of the UN full-time

    Pros

    International experience is great, especially working with field offices

    Cons

    Very beaurocratic, takes a long time to get anything done or approved


  5. "FAO has very rigid and outdated standards."

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

    I worked at FAO of the UN (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    the pay and benefits are decent.

    Cons

    Watch out for the taxes. You WILL get screwed.


  6. "Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Rome (Italy)
    Former Employee - Consultant in Rome (Italy)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at FAO of the UN full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    All the pros to work for international agency: salary, prestige, insurance

    Cons

    Sometimes it can be quite boring

    Advice to Management

    I do not have any.


  7. "intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FAO of the UN full-time

    Pros

    Great people to work with

    Cons

    Has a very bureaucratic organisational structure

  8. "Macro experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Agronomist - Environmental Statistician in Rome (Italy)
    Current Employee - Agronomist - Environmental Statistician in Rome (Italy)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at FAO of the UN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    International network; new backgrounds incorporation possibility;

    Cons

    Highly hierarchized; lack of planning due to uncertainties on contract.


  9. "Ok for a short time but no opportunuty to grow professionally"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at FAO of the UN full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The only pro I can think of is the good salary that can be offered.

    Cons

    I have worked at FAO for the past 10 years. Unfortunately the organization does not provide any possibility for a career growth. It also doesn't invest in people, nor in training. Learning curves can go deep down. Furthermore there is a tendency to recruit consultants to do the administrative work done by General service staff. The organization also is not based on merit, which can be very frustrating. FAO is ok to get some experience but it is not a place that offers the chance to grow professionally. As a result, many Consultants leave after a certain time and there is no institutional memory. The Organization also hires too many consultants (about 70%) with very few opportunities to become a regular staff member.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in training people. Adopt a culture based on merit. Listen to Consultants and staff and create dialogue.


  10. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Mexico City (Mexico)
    Former Employee - Consultant in Mexico City (Mexico)

    I worked at FAO of the UN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people. They really about what they do

    Cons

    To much stress. Deadlines too shorts


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