Jobs at UN programs: A primer

An aid worker serving with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees hands a blanket to one of the young victims of cyclone Nargis, which devastated Myanmar in May 2008. Photo by: United Nations / UNHCR

The United Nations depends on 40 specialized agencies and programs to promote cooperation among its 193 states.

Funding sources differentiate the two categories of U.N. organizations: Programs rely solely on voluntary contributions, while specialized agencies also receive a slice of the global body’s budget.

The below list outlines work opportunities at U.N. programs. On the whole, the U.N. employs more than 44,000 people around the world, including professional and support staff. It tends to advertise more than 200 openings at any given time in various occupational groups — from conference planning to drug control and crime prevention and from economic affairs to engineering and program management.

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About the author

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    Ingrid Ahlgren

    Ingrid is a Devex correspondent based in New York City. She worked as a staff writer for from 2007 to 2009, helping to write guidebooks, including the "Vault Guide to the Top Government and Nonprofit Employers." Before moving to New York, she was a researcher for National Geographic Traveler magazine in Washington, D.C. Ingrid holds a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri. As the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, she grew up all over the world.