5 trends to know about global development hiring in 2016

By Kate Warren 19 April 2016

Recruiters and professionals at this year’s Devex Career Forum held in Washington, D.C. Photo by: Devex

Curious where the global development jobs and opportunities will be in 2016? So were we.

Earlier this year, Devex surveyed over 100 international development recruiters to find out where they expect to see the most hiring. The good news for those considering a job change is that opportunities should be plentiful. From home office to international positions, a majority of respondents predict an increase in hiring at their organizations this year.

There were a few surprising discoveries, too. Here are five trends to look out for in particular. To see all of the findings, download this free Devex guide for jobseekers.

1. Recruiting is often not a human resources function.

While 45 percent of respondents said that their recruitment team fell under HR at their organization, 44 percent reported that recruiting happens in either business development or program units instead.

What does this mean for a jobseeker? First, this indicates that many job opportunities are either for proposals — meaning they aren’t real positions until they get funded —or for jobs tied directly to projects and programs, which may mean they have a defined contract length.

It also means reaching out to the human resources department of a target employer may not always be the best strategy. If you’re trying to get noticed within an organization, connecting with program units or the business development team may get you closer to the hiring decision makers.

(Tip: If you see the words “anticipated” or “forthcoming” to describe a position in a job posting, or multiple organizations advertising for very similar sounding jobs, this is a good indication that the opportunity is at the proposal stage and thus conditional upon the organization winning the grant or contract before they can hire you).

Read: What it means to be staffed on a USAID proposal

2.  Where to look for international job opportunities.

While the demand for hiring local nationals for projects is expected to increase, there are some countries where employers have a difficult time attracting qualified international candidates.

If you’re looking for a job outside of your home country, there are some places where you may have a competitive edge. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Ethiopia topped the list of countries for which recruiters have the most difficult time making international hires.

Download the full report to see what other locations are in demand.

With fewer applicants and qualified candidates to choose from, focusing on opportunities in these locations could help you stand out to employers.

3. Where to consider domestic opportunities.

With local hiring on the rise, there are many countries where, if you are a citizen, you may very well be in demand by international organizations doing work there.

Some of the countries that made it into the list of top 10 locations where employers have a difficult time finding qualified national candidates include Myanmar, Haiti, Mali and Mozambique, with Afghanistan coming in first.

Read: Top resume mistakes local professionals make

4. Time to build capacity in capacity building.

By a margin of 25 percent, capacity building ranked as the number one skill for development professionals to possess in order to be competitive for jobs.

This echoes the results in the Next Generation Development Professional survey Devex conducted with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Population Services International last year, where capacity building was ranked as the second most important skill development professionals should have in the future.

Other in-demand skills include data driven and evidence based programming, impact evaluation, cross-disciplinary approaches and sustainability.

(Tip: If you have experience in capacity building, be sure to include that term on your Devex profile. It’s a common search phrase recruiters use to find candidates).

5.  If you’re thinking of graduate school, consider the MBA.

For the second year in a row, a master’s in business administration ranked second as the most in-demand graduate degree after a master’s in international development. As private sector and business-oriented approaches become more mainstream in development, many employers are looking for candidates who can bring this mindset to their organizations.

Read: Why global development professionals and recruiters are on the MBA bandwagon

To find out what sectors and languages are most in demand and where salaries are heading, download the Devex guide to development recruiting in 2016.

Looking to make a career move? Visit our career center for expert advice on how to navigate your job search — all you need is a Devex Career Account to get started.

About the author

Warren kate 1
Kate Warren@DevexCareers

Kate Warren is the senior director and editor of careers and recruiting content at Devex. With more than a decade of international development recruitment experience working with international NGOs, consulting firms and donor agencies, she has a finger on the pulse of hiring trends across the industry and insider knowledge on what it takes to break in.


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