The Young Professionals Programme

Participation in the programme

Every year the United Nations seeks highly qualified candidates who are ready to launch a professional career as an international civil servant. The young professionals programme (YPP) is a recruitment initiative that brings new talent to the United Nations through an annual entrance examination. This year we are holding the exam on 4 December 2014 in Economic Affairs, Human Rights, Information Systems and Technology, Photography, Political Affairs, Radio Producers (Arabic/Chinese/Kiswahili/Russian/Spanish).

• Do you hold at least a first-level university degree?

• Do you speak either English and/or French fluently?

• Are you a national of a participating country?

• Are you 32 or younger by the end of this year?

The above are the basic eligibility requirements to participate in the young professionals programme.


The application periods for the examination will run from 14 June 2014 through 27 August 2014 (11:59 PM EST) through the United Nations Careers Portal – in a staggered way as follows:

14 June to 13 August: Information Systems and Technology, and Political Affairs,

21 June to 20 August: Economic Affairs and Radio Production (Arabic/Chinese/Kiswahili/Russian/Spanish);

27 June to 26 August: Human Rights and Photography

Important: Incomplete and/or late applications will NOT be considered. Therefore, you must complete and submit your application prior to the deadline.

Once submitted, you will receive by e-mail an acknowledgement of receipt of your application.

If you are convoked to the written exam, you will receive an application number:

It is important complete and update all the information accurately as this will serve as a basis for evaluating your eligibility and suitability for the examination. Please note, after your application has been submitted, it cannot be modified

Additional guidelines on creating applications are available by clicking on the Manuals and Help links found on the upper right hand corner of the webpage.

The examination

The examination itself tests your substantive knowledge, analytical thinking, and your drafting abilities.

1.    The written examination consists of two papers:

o    The General Paper, which is the same for all job families, tests your knowledge of international affairs and drafting abilities. It can be drafted in either English or French.
o    The Specialized Paper, tests your substantive knowledge corresponding to the job family you are taking the exam in and your analytical thinking; it can be taken in any of the six UN official languages.
o    The written examination lasts a total of four and a half hours. Examinees' responses are marked anonymously by a panel of markers for the General Paper and by the Specialized Board Members for the Specialized Paper.

2. If, you are successful in the written portion of the exam, you will be invited to take part in the oral portion of the exam which consists of a competency-based interview.

In 2012, we had more than 41,000 applicants, and more than 4,500 candidates who sat for the exam. Out of those, a small number of about 10 to 50 candidates per job family will end up to be invited for interviews. Therefore, our advice: it might pay off to prepare properly for the exam!

Recruitment after having passed the exam

The number of candidates that pass is closely linked to the positions that are projected to become available. Each year, the candidates that meet the projected vacancies plus a 10 % reserve list, which is valid for two years, are passed. Consequently, while the probability of getting a job is quite high, passing is not a guarantee of getting a job. Job offers to successful candidates are made on an ongoing basis, but placement takes place on a quarterly basis, subject to the requirements of the Organization. If you are successful, you will be considered for YPP vacancies as they become available. You will be given an opportunity to indicate your preference(s) for duty stations and job functions at the time of the oral examination. While efforts are made to take preferences into account this may or may not be possible.

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