Consultancy opportunities at the United Nations and International Financial Institutions

A consultancy position is often the first step towards a career in the United Nations (UN) or in International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Becoming a consultant is thus one way to become a fixed-term staff member later on.
  • How can a consultancy open a way to fixed-term employment?
  • What is required to become a consultant?
  • Where can information about hiring conditions and vacancies be found?
  • Can consultancies also offer entry to junior professionals?

This page provides you with information on consultancy opportunities in selected UN organisations and international financial institutions, including requirements for candidates and how to search.

My consultancy was a foot in the door (...) I gained invaluable expertise in multilateralism and international development, which directly led to my current position.

Amir F., Programme Manager and Focal Point for the World Bank at SDCSwiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

13 facts about consultancies you should know


1. Consultants are usually required for specific assignments where the organisation lacks the necessary expertise.

2. Organisations are cautious about providing information on consultancies (number of hired consultants, honorarium levels, etc.). Honorarium levels are usually decided through negotiations or as part of the tender process.

3. There is not the same level of transparency for consultancy positions as for regular employment opportunities.

4. Consultancies may facilitate entry into an organisation and a staff contract later on, and are a good way to get to know the organisation. Many UN and IFIInternational Financial Institution staff members began as consultants.

5. As for any position, candidates need to research, network and adapt their application to the needs of the organisation.

Consultancy opportunities →
Consultancy opportunities

6. It can be challenging and time-consuming to maintain an overview of where opportunities are advertised, as many are published on platforms other than those for regular staff positions.

7. Organisations are not always obliged to advertise opportunities → network and get to know the organisation to improve your chances. Organisations may use rosters → register and carefully complete the database profile to be eligible.

8. Selection processes are different for individuals and firms. Although working for a consultancy firm is a further possibility, this page focuses on individual consultants.

Contractual conditions →
Contractual conditions

9. There are many different types of contract, but most organisations use similar ones.

10. Consultants generally do not receive benefits (health and pension), apart from the reimbursement of expenses, which you have to organise yourself.

11. Consultants usually have to organise their own visas and the Duty of Care provided can vary widely regarding security and safety issues. It is worthwhile arranging your own accident and repatriation coverage.

12. The more specialised the consultant, the higher the daily rate. Short-term consultancies command higher rates than those for a few months.

13. UN / IFIInternational Financial Institution staff members are generally tax exempt, while consultants are generally responsible for making their own tax payments.

Find more information for selected organisations

Select the type of organisations you are interested in working with as a consultant:

And the next steps?

Do you still think a consultancy is a way forward for you? If so, have a look at our recommandations.

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Interview with Amir F., former consultant at the World Bank

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