9 Reasons Why the UN Is A Good Place to Work

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Jobs at the United Nations are highly sought and starting a career at the UN can be challenging. With UN jobs generally considered to be quite hard to get, is it actually worth trying to beat the competition to secure a UN job? Is the UN really a good place to work?

The UN is considered a good place to work. Jobs at the UN are highly prestigious, well paid and have great benefits. Working at the UN also allows you to have a career addressing global issues, whilst getting a wide variety of professional experiences and building significant expertise.

With that said, let’s take a fuller look at what makes working at the UN great…

Working for the UN is Highly Prestigious

The first reason why the UN is a good place to work is that it is a highly prestigious career. The United Nations is known around the world for being one of the largest, most successful and well-resourced international organisations. Working for the UN is great because almost everyone is aware of the huge impact the UN has on the world and as a result it is seen as a highly regarded place to work.

Working for the UN is highly respected and this is one of the reasons it’s great to work for. The UN is renowned for working across the world tackling some of the most pressing issues – from climate change to refugee aid, from peace initiatives to cultural preservation. The UN does great work around the globe. As a result, it is seen as an esteemed, exciting and meaningful place to work.

UN Jobs Can be Well Paid

The second reason the UN is a good place to work is that, generally, it is well paid. Although there are a wide range of jobs within the UN with a big degree of difference in salaries, overall jobs within the UN are seen as highly paid. For example, ‘professional’ (P) jobs within the UN earn the following salaries:

  • Entry level (P1 – P3): 37,000 USD – 80,000 USD
  • Mid-career (P4 – P5): 67,000 USD – 106,000 USD
  • Senior level (D1 – D2): 95,000 USD – 123,000 USD

As you can see, jobs within the UN are well paid, and this makes is a great place to work. Salaries at the UN also often have additional benefits, which can further increase what you earn working for the United Nations. Also, remember many UN staff are based abroad and so their salaries go even further. Generally, the working for UN pays well and this makes is a really good place to have a career.

You Often Get to Travel

The United Nations has offices in 195 countries. With different UN agencies all around the world, jobs at the UN can give a lot of opportunity to travel and this is one of the reasons it is good to work for. Many people with UN careers travel frequently, often between meetings at different regional HQs and bases in the field. If you love travel, the UN would be a fantastic place to work.

Getting to travel a lot is one of the things that attracts people to working at the UN. Many UN workers get to travel to many different countries throughout their career and this can definitely be one of the reasons the UN is a good place to work. UN staff can also travel to countries or areas experiencing disasters or conflicts. These unique opportunities can be a reason the UN jobs are really interesting.

You Work Solving World Issues

The United Nations works to address the most pressing challenges in the world today. UN staff work on projects such as helping refugees or defending human rights, as well as promoting women and girl’s education and fighting preventable diseases. Being able to work towards solving some of the most important issues facing the world today is a big reason working for the UN can be great.

People work for the UN because they are passionate about global justice and fighting for a better world. Being able to dedicate your career towards important causes is a real reason the UN can be a fantastic place to work. UN workers also get to see the direct impact of their work addressing global issues and assisting people most in need and this is another reason working for the UN can be highly sought.

United Nations Online Courses

If you are interested in working for the United Nations, we highly recommend the online course United Nations Jobs Guide. It’s a great overview of the UN recruitment system and includes valuable tips for anyone looking to build a career within the United Nations. Follow the link to the course’s page.

We also think the United Nations CV and Cover Letter online course is a must for anyone looking to get a job in the UN. It goes through exactly what is needed when applying for a UN position and provides guidance on what exactly to include. It also shows students what the UN recruitment process is like. Follow the link to get full details on the course.

An important step for those wanting to work for the United Nations is to get a strong understanding of how the UN works, and what its global role is. We recommend the online course Global Diplomacy: The United Nations in the World offered by SOAS in London. Not only does it give a fantastic overview of the UN; the fact it is offered by SOAS – one of the top colleges in the world for international relations studies, makes it a great addition to the CV of anyone applying for a job at the UN. Click the link for more information.

The UN Can Be a Job for Life

UN careers can be difficult to get started, with often new joiners needing to take short fixed-term contracts. However, once your career within the UN progresses, it is possible to secure permanent positions. Being able to get a permanent UN job is highly prized and although they can be difficult to get, the stability of a long-term United Nations employment makes it a good place to work.

Being able to secure a well-paid, highly respected and exciting career at the UN that you are able to stay-in permanently is hugely beneficial. The United Nations has many long-term, stable permanent jobs and this is a reason the UN can be a great place to work. However, permanent UN jobs often come after sometimes a long period of taking more insecure, shorter, UN contracts.

You Can Get Great Benefits

A lot of UN postings have some very generous benefits. This can really make working at the UN great. Although not all UN jobs receive benefits like these, below are some of the good conditions UN jobs can have:

HolidaysDifferent types of UN contracts have different holiday allowances, but in general UN workers get between 18 and 30 vacation days a year. They also get 10 paid public holidays that change depending on where you’re based. This generous holiday allowance can really make working for the UN great.
Health InsuranceMany UN staff get health insurance as part of the UN-sponsored medical plan. Monthly costs are shared between the worker and the organisation, which is a great benefit of working at the United Nations.
RetirementThe UN offers a generous pension scheme, which is one of the reasons it is a fantastic place to work. UN staff on contracts of six or more months are automatically enrolled in the UN retirement scheme. Both the staff member and the UN contribute to this.
Rental Subsidy When some UN staff arrive at their duty posting the UN can contribute towards renting accommodation. A really incredible bonus that can make working for the UN really good.
Dependency Allowances If UN workers are eligible to bring their spouse on missions the UN can pay additional allowance. Another fantastic benefit of some UN jobs.
Education Grant Under some conditions the UN will pay for your children’s education. A super unique benefit of working for the United Nations.
Travel and Shipping Expenses As UN staff move a lot, some jobs get additional funds towards shipping and relocation costs. A great bonus for UN workers.
Hardship Allowance Some UN jobs are in dangerous or difficult to work places. These posting can receive an additional bonus payment on top of their salary. This can really increase the earnings of a UN worker and is another reason the UN is a good place to work.
Paid Rest and Recuperation BreaksWhen UN staff work in hazardous locations, they get additional paid leave to recoup. For those interested in working in hardship locations, this can be a big reason the UN is good to work for.

The UN Can Be a Fulfilling Career

Working for the UN can be a highly fulfilling career. With the UN covering a wide range of global issues, from regulating air traffic to fighting climate change, from inoculating children in poor countries to deploying peacekeepers; the UN allows for an exciting and impactful career. Being able to have a meaningful career working towards improving the world is a big reason working for the UN can be great.

Many people wish to use their career to work on projects they are passionate about. The UN can be a great place to work as it gives the opportunity for people who are interested in resolving pressing global issues to dedicate their career to doing so. People who work for the United Nations have a drive to try and make the world better and being able to do this through their work makes the UN a good place to have a career.

You Can Build A Career in Your Area of Expertise

The United Nations is made up of a huge number of agencies working on a wide range of projects. This means working for the UN can be great for building a career in almost any area of expertise. The UN is also able to dedicate significant resources and attract top talent. This means the UN can be a great place to work where you’re surrounded by the top experts in your field all working to make the world a better place.

Being able to build a career in your area of expertise as part of the United Nations is a big reason it is a good place to work. The UN allows for staff to develop significant knowledge within their area and use their expertise to meet a wide range of global challenges. Being able to develop your area of expertise as part of the United Nations one of the reasons staff say it is great to work there.

You Get a Wide Range of Experiences

A final reason why the United Nations is a good place to work is because you can gain a wide range of experiences. The UN is huge, with over 37,000 staff in total working across a wide variety of fields. UN staff are able to move between postings, meaning they can change jobs, location and area of focus whilst remaining within the UN. Working for the UN can be great because of this.

A career within the United Nations can be made up of a wide variety of roles, across different UN agencies and within highly varied contexts. The unique range of experiences that working at the UN can provide is a definite reason why it can be a fantastic place to work. Being able to get different professional, and personal, experiences whilst working to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, is why it can be good to work for the UN.

If you want to learn more about the United Nations, and how to get a UN job, explore our list of the top UN online courses here.


Duncan is the founder of Humanitarian Careers. With over ten years experience in the aid industry across fifteen countries, Duncan set-up Humanitarian Careers to help people launch their own career in international aid.