United Nations Reviews

Updated May 10, 2021

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4.1
89%
Recommend to a Friend
91%
Approve of CEO
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres (no image)
António Guterres
218 Ratings
Pros
  • "Great work environment and people(in 115 reviews)

  • "excellent work environment and good work-life balance(in 62 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "unpaid internship lots of work and pressure(in 57 reviews)

  • "no chance to get a return offer, no pay(in 34 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    1. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 10 years

      United Nations is a good employer

      May 10, 2021 - Senior Compliance Associate in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Its a large organization with a variety of job profile and diversity

      Cons

      Too much travel in certain positions.

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    2. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 10 years

      Great place to gain global experience

      Apr 7, 2021 - Information Technology Officer in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good pension if you stay long enough to be vested; exciting international travel; good pay and benefits

      Cons

      Dealing with a lot of red tape for even just the simplest things; no bonuses or pay incentives allowed (but the good salary and pension makes up for it); strict rules regarding promotions and job placement due to quotas to fill for parity i.e. nationalities and gender; hard to get in, can take several months or years; some Managers stay silent on things so as not to rock the boat and therefore not always effective Managers.

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    3. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      great opportunity

      Apr 18, 2021 - Financial Advisor in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      international platform, great political exposure

      Cons

      efficiency is not high and workload is random

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    4. 5.0
      Current Employee

      excellent

      Apr 16, 2021 - Dispute Resolution Specialist in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      learning and promoting professionals and consultants

      Cons

      Positions depend on external financing

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    5. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Y'all ask too much

      May 3, 2021 - Administrative Secretary in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      good job to be employed at

      Cons

      nothing to be worried about

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    6. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Great environment, culture, co-workers

      Apr 1, 2021 - Communication Analyst in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The environment is amazing and multicultural, you learn new things every day

      Cons

      Sometimes it's hard to find mobility in the organization

      1 person found this review helpful
    7. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Excellent work environment and opportunities

      Mar 29, 2021 - Economist in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great work environment and opportunities

      Cons

      N/A for this job at the time

      1 person found this review helpful
    8. 2.0
      Current Employee

      not worth it for Americans and singles

      Mar 15, 2021 - Professional Staff 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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...

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      2 people found this review helpful
    9. 4.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      Great place

      Apr 26, 2021 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good work and collegial workplace

      Cons

      Long hiring process could have unclear timelines

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    10. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years

      Demographer - UN

      Mar 26, 2021 - Demographer in New York, NY
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Good benefits, international exposure, flexible working hours

      Cons

      Not many opportunities for career growth

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