Portfolio Specialist

  • Mid-level, Long-term consulting assignment
  • Posted on 17 May 2019

Job Description

Background Information - Job-specific

Based in Geneva, the Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECR) supports UNOPS offices throughout the region through: management, financial and programmatic oversight of global and country-specific portfolios, clusters and operations centres, including hosting services; fund and management advisory services; project implementation; procuring goods and services; and managing human resources.

The Portfolio Specialist reports directly to the WASH UP Senior Portfolio Manager and will work as integrated member of the Portfolio Management Team (PMT) delivering a range of implementation services on behalf of its clients in areas of project management, fund administration, grants support management, procurement, human resources administration, as well as finance and general administration.

In his/her role, the Portfolio Specialist will focus on internal portfolio planning and coordination, project management advice, support client relationship management and grant support process and guidance with internal and external stakeholders.

Functional Responsibilities

Portfolio Planning and Coordination

  • Coordinate and oversee the preparation of workplans for different components of the portfolio, including establishment of resource requirements and cost implications.
  • Establish portfolio goals and targets by actively supporting coordination within the team work streams to achieve results;
  • Create tools and establish working systems or guidance to facilitate improved collaboration between functions within the Portfolio Management Team (PMT);
  • Initiate and actively support learning activities for PMT members, as required, on methods, tools and practices that facilitate effective planning, coordination and implementation;
  • Actively and regularly liaise with the Portfolio Finance Analyst and the Finance Officer to ensure work is aligned with budget plans in an effort to drive implementation results and support financial management of projects;
  • Monitor implementation of the portfolio activities, including the identification of potential gaps, proposing solutions for improved implementation support;
  • Establish systems and planning tools to be used by the PMT to enhance collaboration, information sharing and oversight;
  • Input and update accurate data and information to facilitate monitoring of the projects under the portfolio, contribute to Quarterly Assurance and provide this information to the Project Management Office (PMO) as required;
  • Support the Senior Portfolio Manager in the development of written legal, policy and oversight documents related to governance, guidance, hosting terms, SOPs, risk management etc. to support strategic hosting approaches;
  • Attend internal UNOPS meetings with the Senior Portfolio Manager and to represent him/her, when requested;
  • Supervise, coach and mentor junior team personnel as required.
  • In support of the Senior Portfolio Manager, support business development work for the Portfolio, as required.

Advice on Project Management, Implementation and Operation Models and best practices

  • Provide advice to partners on UNOPS project management standards, implementation models/practices and operational with focus on planning;
  • Act as direct client(s) focal point for project management providing oversight advice to ensure activities are carried out providing clear ‘value for money’ and be in compliance with UNOPS PM policies and best practices;
  • Constantly acquire knowledge of all new developments in policies, guidelines and tools and ensure that appropriate interpretations and compliances exist in the portfolio. Act as direct focal point for new Project Management Manual (PMM)/oneUNOPS Projects.
  • Lead implementation debates and exercises related to planning, systematic management of data needs, results reporting and coordinate responses to requests for information from other internal units and external parties;

Support Client Relationship Management and Capacity Development

  • Manage client relations at authorized level to ensure constant responsiveness to client(s) needs and monitoring of portfolio implementation progress to proactively address all issues arising;
  • Regularly liaise with Senior Managers and Deputy Director providing regular inter-face to the clients, directing client colleagues to the correct experts for advice in the UNOPS Geneva office or at HQ level as required;
  • Initiate and lead organizational and client(s) capacity-building of high performance delivery of project objectives through formal training, coaching and mentoring of internal clients and partners;
  • Actively understand the context of client(s) needs, conduct independent investigation to ensure all factors are understood before providing appropriate advice;
  • As requested, support business development initiatives and other client(s) engagement activities beyond those in the Portfolio.

Grant Support Process and Guidance

  • Review, prepare/draft and finalize a) award documents, and b) final agreements, i.e. grant support agreements, UN2UN agreements, Project Cooperation Agreements, and related amendments, when needed;
  • Prepare and support submission documents for higher level award review/approval, i.e. GVA Deputy Director, ECR Director or EAC;
  • Review and support guidance with agreement budgets and revisions/amendment prior to final submission to Senior PM;
  • Provide day-to-day support to new and already approved grantees, as required;
  • Maintain working-level contacts with NGOs, governmental institutions, donors, other stakeholders, as required.
  • Maintain clear monitoring and tracking update of all grants, along with planned payments for smooth implementation, constant delivery overview, expiration alerts and advise of revisions as necessary.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Master degree equivalent in Business Administration, Economics, and Political Sciences/International Relations, Social Sciences or related field and five years of relevant experience required.


  • Five years of relevant experience in the area of project management support including but not limited to project management, advisory support, operations, and/or communications work is required.
  • Three years of experience in operations is required, including but not limited to the area of procurement and grant-management.
  • Experience in operational and/or strategic planning is desirable.

Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UNOPS language is an asset.

Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization. Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role). Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries. Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements. Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving. Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground. Contract type, level and duration
  • Contract type: International Contractor Agreement
  • Contract level: International Specialist Level 2
  • Contract duration: ‘Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.
This position is based in Switzerland and the contract fee is not exempt from Swiss laws, including but not limited to laws regarding taxation, social security, accident and health insurance.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

Additional Considerations
  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

About the Organization

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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