How the UN is attracting and retaining millennials

By Emma Smith 03 October 2017
A U.N. staff member during the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly. Photo by: Kim Haughton / U.N.

Employers across all sectors are increasingly aware of how millennials differ from previous generations when it comes to careers — both in their motivations and ambitions. The prospect of a lifelong career doesn’t have the same appeal for today’s young workforce and millennials are generally more interested in roles that offer flexibility or opportunities to see the world, or careers that will allow them to make a positive contribution to society.

While global development employers may not be able to compete with the salaries of the private sector, they do have a lot to offer to this type of millennial. Liz Huckerby, chief of integrated talent management at United Nations Development Programme, discusses some of the ways the U.N. is successfully attracting and retaining millennial talent.

Employer brand

Jobseekers today are looking to work for an employer that aligns with their values and vision. In a recent Devex survey, 60 percent of jobseekers said it was important to find a work culture that fits their preferred working style. The same survey showed that an employer's “mission, culture, and values” was the second most important thing for a candidate to know before applying to a job. Having a strong employer brand is therefore important in competing for talent and this is something that continues to attract applicants to the U.N.

Our brand is “very compelling,” says Huckerby, because “who wouldn’t want to come and work in the United Nations and try and change the world?” According to Huckerby the organization receives many applications for every job because this compelling employment proposition differentiates them from other employers.