Switzerland actively supports Swiss citizens' candidacies for strategic top management positions in international organisations. To this end, the FDFA has various instruments at its disposal, ranging from the promotion of young talent to targeted lobbying and election campaigns for candidacies.
Careers in international organisations
Working for an international organisation is generally very varied, interesting and fulfilling. An international career presents an opportunity to broaden your personal horizons, get to know other countries and cultures and work with people from all over the world.
However, these jobs are often located in countries with difficult conditions and may therefore be challenging in terms of quality of life and security conditions. You also have to accept a degree of job insecurity as international organisations generally tend to offer only fixed-term and short-term contracts.
Click on the following link for profiles of some Swiss citizens who have worked in various positions at the UN:
Video: a short interview about the opportunities and challenges of a career at the UN with Mirjana Spoljaric, Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Promoting young talent
Switzerland supports young professionals wishing to join international organisations by funding positions for Junior Professional Officers and UN Youth Volunteers. For further information:
The FDFA invites university graduates and young academics to attend its annual International Career Day (ICD), where they can find out about international organisations and the career opportunities they offer. For further information:
Starting a career in international organisations
Switzerland can support individual applications for top management positions of political interest through lobbying at the final selection stages. To consider supporting an application, the FDFA requires a complete application file (job advertisement, application letter, CV).
In the case of elected positions, the relevant federal authorities will decide whether to submit an official candidacy on behalf of Switzerland and determine the scope of the election campaign if applicable.
The following page contains a list of Swiss citizens who currently hold top management positions in international organisations:
The Centre for Information, Counselling and Training for Professions relating to International Cooperation (cinfo) can provide you with more information about joining international organisations and help in submitting applications for all career levels. To help with your application, cinfo provides certain services free of charge to Swiss applicants on behalf of the federal government.
- Cinfo – Centre for Information, Counselling and Training for Professions relating to International Cooperation
If you are interested in a career in international organisations, see the job portals listed below for information on vacancies and application processes:
- United Nations Careers
- UN Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Others
Only selected OSCE jobs are funded by Switzerland. You can find these on the website of the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding.
- Council of Europe
The Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding offers jobs in international organisations. You can also find OSCE jobs financed by Switzerland here.
The SDC's Humanitarian Aid Department and Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) support their partner organisations through the services of experts on secondment. Specialists are recruited via the SHA pool.
Human rights are one of the cornerstones of Swiss foreign policy. Two of the UN Human Rights Council's key mechanisms to promote and defend human rights are the 'special procedures' and the treaty bodies of the UN, which ensure and monitor implementation of the human rights conventions. If you have recognised skills in the field of human rights, here are some interesting links: