World Bank sets new rules to rein in hiring

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks to the bank's staff in New Delhi, India. The financial institution aims to get its hiring under control. Photo by: Graham Crouch / World Bank

Starting this month, the World Bank is implementing new hiring measures in order to put what management sees as “unchecked and unsustainable” hiring under control.

A March 4 memo signed by the bank’s human resources vice president and obtained by Devex detailed two new “employment controls” which came into effect immediately after their announcement: All new positions now need approval at vice president level, and external candidates will require confirmation by the CFO and COO, two of the most senior posts at the Washington, D.C.-based institution — not just by managers in the different units as was the norm until now.

The centralization of hiring is intended to align staffing to the “business priorities as defined by the new strategic planning process,” the memo said, painting a picture of a bloated institution that had grown by 2,200 employees over the past five years, with personnel-related costs growing at an annual 6.8 percent, although it did not detail where that growth has come from.

“We must rein in these numbers if we are to meet the fiscal targets we have set,” the memo stated.

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    Paul Stephens

    Paul Stephens is a Devex staff writer based in Washington, D.C. His coverage focuses on Latin America and World Bank affairs, as well as Washington's global development scene. As a multimedia journalist, editor and producer, Paul has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Monthly, CBS Evening News, GlobalPost and the United Nations magazine, among other outlets. He's won a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for a 5-month, in-depth reporting project in Yemen after two stints in Georgia - one as a Peace Corps volunteer and another as a communications coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.