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UN Women Reviews

Updated February 2, 2018
43 reviews

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3.5
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Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
11 Ratings

43 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Learned a lot about the UN System as a whole (in 6 reviews)

  • Good potential of campaigns, able to meet a lot of people and spread the cause of gender equality (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • planning, team, management, environment, work-life balance (in 5 reviews)

  • Unpaid, a lot of other people in the UN system thinks UN Women is a mess (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Internship"

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

    Pros

    People here are super nice and the experience was fun!

    Cons

    I can not remember any downside


  2. "Great experience for those interested in international development"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    As a recent grad, the office environment is excellent and everyone is dedicated to their jobs and were great mentors. Gained a lot of insights about the many stakeholders involved in international development. Additionally, the HR team had workshops to discuss professional development options.

    Cons

    Internships are unpaid and transitioning into UN culture can be overwhelming. Specifically, understanding how organizations and agencies are connected, and the many acronyms.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Executive Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at UN Women full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Being able to work for this important mandate "Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women".

    Cons

    The big wage difference between the salaries of local and international staff members.

    Advice to Management

    Supporting salary improvement of GS staff.


  4. "good overall"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at UN Women full-time

    Pros

    work within the international community

    Cons

    Lack of support from certain offices


  5. Helpful (11)

    "Horrible place, horrible management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Programmer Analyst in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at UN Women full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great mission and mandate: empowering women is crucial to development. Amazing junior level colleagues who are motivated and passionate toward making a difference. Great grass-roots level work.

    Extremely cushy UN salary (junior/starting level makes about 70k net in NYC) plus very generous benefits (housing allowance (up to 1k a month), 30 days paid leave, maternity, paternity, health, child education allowance (up too 30k per year per kid), 30k relocation, paid tickets to fly home with the whole family every other year, etc, but only for the small portion of the workforce in international (P and D) staff positions.

    Little expected results and weak management oversight or enforcement: great for chronic slackers and over-the-hill bureaucrats who just want to cash in while traveling around on the corporate dime and waiting for retirement. Really perfect if you are politically or personally connected with management and want to pursue a side gig of finish up that part-time PhD while on the UN payroll.

    Solid work/life balance if you're a slacker. You can literally not show up to the office for weeks at a time and face no consequences aside from, maybe, a toothless tongue-lashing (again, assuming you are staff, not consultants or interns).

    Cons

    Terrible work environment: constant uncertainty, unclear/low expectations, lack of vision, bad attitudes, rampant sexism (toward men) and abuse (toward junior women) on the part of senior management. Extremely demotivating for passionate and motivated young people.

    Epic fear of direct "conflict" leading to unending backstabbing and politicking to undermine other teams'/people's initiatives leading to constant institutional deadlock.

    No link between performance and advancement or effort and outcome. No/awful institutional structures or systems to support team/individual goals and projects makes everything being incredibly difficult and frustrating to accomplish.

    Entitled mid-level to senior staff with sour attitudes who produce little and contribute less, and mostly end up sitting silently through (endless) meetings while staring at the ceiling or occasionally asking a banal or redundant question over the teleconference so people will know that they were in attendance.

    Very patronizing and unfocused leadership; scatterbrained and nonstrategic approach to work leads to a massive waste of money and time and a very stressful and disappointing work environment; huge focus on "visibility" (especially of personal visibility of in-county and senior management) leads to fragmented approaches and investment of institutional funds toward travel, pet projects, and personal aggrandizement.

    Horrendous work/life balance if you are actually motivated and passionate because you have to carry a lot of dead-weight.

    Advice to Management

    Retire, resign, or listen to your staff (not just your one or two trusted yes-(wo)men who you brought with you when you joined the organization). UN Women has an inverse organizational pyramid with more senior staff than junior staff. New York alone has nearly 30 director or higher level posts (out of about 300 people in the office). That needs to change.

    Enforce discipline. If offices/teams have targets, they need to meet them. If they don't, there has to be consequences. People can't constantly promise the world, deliver nothing, give vague excuses and face absolutely no consequences.

    Promote on merit, hard work, and measurable not on vague promises and obvious brown-nosing. So, yeah, actually establish some sort of promotion mechanism so people aren't stuck in the same position for years and are forced to job hunt and network for their next position in the organization.

    Stop hiring temporary consultants for everything and invest in institutional talent, memory, and skill by hiring more junior professionals and then training and empowering them (and not just using them to take meeting minutes at CSW).

    Pick a few clear things/ideas/outcomes you want to accomplish and make sure everyone knows exactly what they are. Then focus on getting only those things done and treat other things as distractions.

    Pay your interns. You can afford it and it's an institutional and personal disgrace (for an organization and senior management who speak ad nauseum about empowering women) that hundreds of talented, young women are asked to work unpaid in Manhattan, Copenhagen, Geneva, and elsewhere every year while senior managers fly around all the time on $18,000 business class tickets. And don't make jokes about it, either. Having your Executive Director say that interns will be "rewarded in the afterlife" is not funny. It's pathetic and insulting.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Disappointing"

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

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

    Pros

    Strong mission, many bright, committed colleagues.

    Cons

    Poor management, unnecessarily bureaucratic. Results, vision, lacking.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "A meaningful mandate and great teams"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at UN Women full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    entrepreneurial spirit and clear mandate

    Cons

    continuous crisis management sapping energy

    Advice to Management

    improve internal coordination to keep personnel engaged

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Mixed feelings"

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

    I worked at UN Women full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    really good benefits
    -health, vision and dental
    -paid vacations
    -sick days
    -compensatory time off
    -great mission

    Cons

    -not many opportunities for advancement
    -management style
    -awful people and policies

    Advice to Management

    listen to employees concerns, that way you can retain talent and people are more engaged at work and not so apathetic


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Supporting women"

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

    Pros

    Work on global women's issues.

    Cons

    Few opportunities for career growth.


  10. "Great learning experience for an intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Intern in New York, NY

    Pros

    Very helpful staff members and great work enviroment

    Cons

    Interns are unpaid. But that is true for all UN internships.


Showing 43 of 71 reviews
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