Swiss JPO positions in UN organisations

For Swiss nationals, Junior Professional Officer positions are an attractive entry opportunity into the United Nations. Given the relatively small number of applicants, the chances of being selected are considerably high.

To facilitate promising career starts of talented young Swiss professionals in the United Nations, and promote Switzerland’s presence in multilateral organisations, the Swiss Confederation sponsors between 15-20 JPOJunior Professional Officer positions per year:

  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation finances positions in the fields of international development and humanitarian cooperation with UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme , UNICEFUnited Nations Children's Fund , UN WomenUnited Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women , UNFPAUnited Nations Population Fund , WHO, UNAIDSJoint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS , IFADInternational Fund for Agricultural Development , WFPWorld Food Programme , UNHCRUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , UNRWAUnited Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East , and OCHAOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs .
  • The Human Security Division finances positions in fields related to peace, human rights, humanitarian and migration policy.
  • The United Nations and International Organisations Division finances positions in different thematic areas of strategic interest.

JPO positions are aligned with the institutional, thematic and geographic priorities set by the Swiss Confederation.

During a JPO assignment, you experience on-the-job training and benefit from exposure and networking opportunities within the host organisation.

General requirements

To be eligible for a Swiss JPOJunior Professional Officer position, you:

  • demonstrate strong interest in a career with the United Nations
  • have Swiss nationality
  • are maximum 32 years old
  • hold a Master’s degree in a relevant field
  • have at least 3 years of relevant professional experience
  • are fluent in written and spoken English and a second UN official language (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian)
  • show commitment to engage in international cooperation
  • fulfill other requirements specified in the job description
Next: contract and duration
Contract and duration

JPOsJunior Professional Officers are UN staff members and international civil servants. As such they are contracted by the UN and report to the respective organisation.

Initially you will hired on a one-year fixed-term contract in the professional category, usually at the P-2 level, which usually gets extended for a second year subject to your performance. A third year extension may be negotiated depending on the availability of funds, with costs split between the Swiss Confederation and the host organisation.

By financing JPOs, the Swiss Confederation expects you to use your assignment as a springboard for a long-term career in the UN. Following the JPOJunior Professional Officer assignment, you will be equipped to compete for mid-level positions (at P-3 level) and have good chances of becoming part of the organisation’s human resource pool.

Although there is no guarantee for retention in the UN, a JPO experience is highly regarded within the UN, with many current senior UN staff having started their careers as JPOs. 

Next: entitlements

As a JPOJunior Professional Officer you receive a generous remuneration package with the same benefits and compensation like other UN staff members. 

Your salary is tax exempt and corresponds to your professional category, which is normally at P-2 level. For an estimate, use UNDP's salary calculator.

In addition, you are entitled to the following benefits:

  • medical insurance for you and your family
  • inclusion in the UN pension scheme
  • relocation and installation allowance
  • rental subsidy
  • education grants for children
  • maternity/paternity leave
  • annual leave
  • rest & recuperation time if you serve in a hard-ship duty station
Next: selection process
Selection process

For positions funded by the SDCSwiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and HSDHuman Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs , cinfo manages the pre-selection of candidates.

cinfo first pre-assesses candidates, by conducting competency-based interviews with those shortlisted, before the list of most promising candidates is handed over to the respective UN host organisation as a recommendation.

The host organisation then conducts a second round of interviews and a technical test to take a final selection decision.

The entire process may last several months.


Application calls for open Swiss JPOJunior Professional Officer positions are advertised here.

The goal is that JPOsJunior Professional Officers remain within the UN system after their assignment.

Olivier Bürki, former Head of the Global Institutions Division, SDCSwiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Before applying for a specific position, make sure your experience matches the requirements to a great extent. Then prepare your application, including a motivation letter that is tailored to the requirements of the position before you submit the documents in our online recruitment system.

Do you need help? cinfo can support you! Register for our Job Application Support to improve your application documents or prepare for your interview!

Sample JPO job descriptions

Frequently asked questions

Current vacancies

7 open positions at the moment.

3 things you need to know about the JPO Programme

cinfo asked Olivier Bürki, Head of the Global Insitutions Division at SDC, three questions about the JPO Programme.

Support for Swiss nationals

cinfo offers additional services and information exclusively for Swiss nationals.

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