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Questions and answers about the SWTP at the UN Peace Operations

The 2022 launch of the Senior Women’s Talent Pipeline (SWTP) is aligned with the Secretary-General’s commitment to achieving gender parity within UN Peace Operations by 2026. It is focused on building a pipeline of qualified women.

Impactpool's role in the SWTP process is to reach out to qualified women leaders. Impacatpool does not handle any applications, nor take part in any screening nor in the selection. 

In this article, we have listed answers to questions that will help you better understand the SWTP.

Read more here if you wish to apply or nominate for the 2022 call.

General information

1. What is the Senior Women Talent Pipeline (SWTP)?
The Senior Women Talent Pipeline (SWTP) is an initiative that aims to improve the gender balance in UN Peace Operations at senior levels. The Staffing Service in the Department of Operations Support is mandated to provide a high-quality, diverse and gender-balanced global workforce for UN Peace Operations. As a result, the SWTP was launched in 2014 to identify a cadre of external women who are strong candidates for senior-level positions.

The SWTP serves as a dedicated talent pool for high potential external female candidates applying to D1-D2 positions, particularly in areas where there is an urgent requirement. There are currently about 250 women members the SWTP. Participants have benefited from individual and group coaching on the recruitment process, group training, and one-one-one support from a dedicated project manager. The objective of the SWTP is to ensure that external candidates are competitive in the UN’s recruitment process. 

2. How does the SWTP membership support me in my applications?  
The services of the Pipeline are only available to members of the SWTP. Members receive the following services:

  1. Practical pre-application support. The SWTP team will review the candidates’ Personal History Profile (PHP), prior to the submission of the application in Inspira. When invited for an interview, the SWTP will set up the candidate with a coach to do a mock Competency Based Interview (CBI). The SWTP team may also provide candidates with (non-confidential) information about the work of peacekeeping missions and special political missions.
  2. Training and coaching. The SWTP regularly provides different training and development opportunities.
  3. Networking. The SWTP aims to establish a network of highly qualified, competent, and professional women working in international relations, with a specific focus on peacekeeping and special political missions. This network is maintained through occasional face-to-face meetings; a group LinkedIn page; and the organization of a weeklong induction training for members.
  4. Advocacy. Both internally and externally, the SWTP continuously advocates for the project and its members, providing Members with added visibility to the UN’s senior leadership.

3. What are the limitations of SWTP membership?
The SWTP can support its members to best present their applications to positions in Peace Operations. This includes giving feedback on the PHP; offering CBI coaching; answering questions they have about the UN recruitment process or questions about the realities of life in a peacekeeping mission. The SWTP is not a guaranteed job offer. The SWTP does not provide any shortcuts to the regular UN recruitment process. The SWTP will not provide any information to candidates regarding any written tests, multiple choice exams, interview questions etc. The SWTP will not serve as a reference for its members.

4. What position does the SWTP aim to fill? Can the SWTP help me apply for other positions?
The SWTP focuses only on D1 and D2 positions in Peace Operations. Senior Leadership vacancies in the UN System are posted on this website.

5. I am interested in Senior Leadership positions in Peacekeeping (Head of Mission/Deputy Head of Mission) Can the SWTP help with this?
The SWTP focuses only on D1 and D2 positions in Peace Operations. If you are interested in HoM/DHoM positions, please apply for the Global Call. Senior Leadership vacancies in the UN System are posted on this website

6. What is the difference between the SWTP and the Global Call?
The Global Call for Nominations for the positions of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) in the United Nations peace operations is a separate outreach initiative conducted by the United Nations Secretariat to increase the pool of candidates for the Head and Deputy Head of Mission positions in the field.

The Global Call is open to men and women. Women nominated through the Global Call might also meet the requirements of the Senior Women Talent Pipeline (SWTP), which is a separate initiative geared solely towards women who are non-staff members and are interested and eligible for senior management positions in the field (director-level positions usually graded at D1 or D2-level).

Inclusion in the SWTP does not exclude nominees from being part of the Global Call pool and vice-versa. The Global Call and the Senior Women Talent Pipeline (SWTP) are two different outreach initiatives serving different purposes and targeting different career levels. Whereas the SWTP focuses solely on female candidates for senior management positions in the field (mainly D1 and D2-level), the Global Call is open to men and women and focuses on candidates for senior leadership roles (primarily at the Assistant Secretary-General level and Under-Secretary-General level).

7. When will I get a job offer? Am I guaranteed a job following acceptance to the SWTP?
To be placed in the SWTP does not bring any guarantees that you will be successful in obtaining a position, but it increases your chances in the recruitment process as you will receive dedicated support. Your success through being a member of the SWTP is very much dependent on the demand from field operations and the match with your profile, as well as on your application to positions you qualify for.

8. Does the SWTP team place or recommend candidates it considers suitable for a particular position?
The SWTP cannot and does not place any candidates. Any applications must be done through the UN application tracking system (the so-called  Inspira) following the regular recruitment process, after which the hiring manager proceeds with the recruitment and selection process. Regardless of whether a hiring manager may reach out to the SWTP to inquire about potential female applicants potential candidates, all vacancies are posted in Inspira and are open to all to apply. 

Becoming a Member of the SWTP

9. How can I apply to be an SWTP member?
The SWTP is currently not accepting applications. We may open another intake of candidates at a later stage, which will be communicated on this site as well as through note verbales to Permanent Missions'.

10. I know someone who is interested in becoming a SWTP member. What should I do?
The SWTP is currently not accepting applications. We may open another intake of candidates at a later stage, which will be communicated on this site as well as through note verbales to Permanent Missions.

11. What attributes is the SWTP looking for in candidates?
The majority of current Peace Operations are located in Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, candidates who are bilingual in English and French or English and Arabic or English and Russian are in high demand. To be eligible to apply, candidates should have an advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in a relevant area and a minimum of fifteen years of professional experience. If you don’t hold an advanced university degree you may also be eligible if you hold a first-level university degree (e.g. Bachelor's degree) in combination with 17 years of relevant work experience.

In addition, at the Director level, peacekeeping and special political missions need staff who are excellent managers (of budgets as well as people) and leaders. Any leadership experience gained in conflict or post-conflict environments will be extremely valuable. The SWTP looks to support members’ applications to D1/D2 positions in non-family and hardship duty stations. Therefore, potential members must be willing to deploy to such locations in the short-medium term. For more information on current duty station classifications, please click here.

12. I do not have 15 years of experience. I am enthusiastic, motivated, and willing to learn, though! Can I still apply?
The requirements for D1/D2 positions include a minimum of 15 years of relevant work experience (or a minimum of 17 years, if the candidate does not have a Master’s degree). In reality, much more experience is usually brought by applicants to D1/D2 positions. As such, applying to the SWTP with less than 15 years of experience is not relevant. Please see here for all positions that are currently available in the UN Secretariat at P2 through P5 levels.

13. I am currently a staff member of the UN Secretariat. Am I eligible for SWTP membership?
The SWTP is a project that was established and funded with the specific purpose to support non-UN Secretariat staff in their applications to positions in peacekeeping. The SWTP is not a career development tool for Secretariat staff members, and as such, no applications from currently serving Secretariat staff are accepted. For career development opportunities available to serving staff members including coaching and mentoring, please click here (page available from the UN network only).

14. I am currently a staff member of a UN Agency, Fund, or Programme (AFP). Am I eligible for membership?
UN Agency, Funds, and Programmes (AFP) staff are considered ‘external applicants’ according to current rules and regulations, current AFP staff are eligible to apply for SWTP membership.

15. I am a member of a roster. Am I automatically accepted to the SWTP?
No. The SWTP is not the same as a roster. Roster membership does not mean automatic SWTP membership; the SWTP has a separate screening process and acceptance is not guaranteed.

16. Does my nationality affect my chances of being accepted to the SWTP?
There is no pre-set number or quota of successful candidates per nationality. The number of selected candidates depends on the candidates’ success in the competitive screening process.

Candidates from all countries are evaluated against the same questions and criteria.

17. Does the SWTP work on recruiting uniformed (military or police) personnel?
No. The SWTP is a purely civilian initiative and does not seek to deploy uniformed personnel.

Retired military or police officers (female candidates only) who are seeking to contribute in a civilian capacity, however, are very much encouraged to apply.

18. I have passed or am nearing the retirement age for UN (65 yearls old). Can I still be considered for SWTP membership?
The current policy governing the retention in service beyond the mandatory age of separation which is captured in the administrative instruction ST/AI/2003/8 remains unchanged.

In accordance with the policy, retention in service beyond the mandatory age of separation is made only in exceptional circumstances by the Secretary-General where it is in the interest of the Organization.

As the UN Secretariat cannot appoint anyone to a new position closer than 1-year pre-retirement, and because the SWTP is aimed at providing candidates with individual support, training, and coaching to put them in the best possible position to apply, the SWTP will not consider applications from anyone over the age of 64 at the time of applying.

19. If I am accepted, for how long will I be a member of the SWTP? 

Currently, SWTP membership is not time-bound. However, in the future we will have to institute measures to ensure that the SWTP is made up of individuals who are actively engaged in and looking for opportunities to work in Peace Operations. SWTP members will be informed of such measures when the time comes. 

20. I am a man. Am I eligible for the SWTP?
No, men are not eligible for the SWTP. The United Nations-wide Strategy on Gender Parity sets targets and monitors the following areas: leadership and accountability; senior management; recruitment and retention; creating an enabling environment; and Mission settings. It seeks a fair balance between individual accountability and incentives, recognizes different starting points and challenges, and provides positive tools to empower and encourage staff and managers alike, taking into account that the initial situation and the difficulties encountered vary considerably depending on the context, and seeking to provide both officials and supervisory staff with the necessary means and the desire to act. It is not simply about achieving quantitative goals, but about changing the institutional culture so that the Organization can fully deliver on its promises.

The Strategy is intended to foster a gender-responsive and inclusive workplace. The commitment to achieving system-wide gender parity is underpinned by a strong legislative and institutional framework which has been consistently developed and strengthened since the founding of the United Nations in 1945. Ultimately, the strategy operationalizes this legal framework, taking the imperative of gender parity from ambition to action.

The UN Application Process

21. Where can I find information about jobs in peacekeeping?
All UN Secretariat vacancies, including those in Peace Operations, are found here. This is also where you will find information about the UN Secretariat’s application process, career paths, as well as pay and benefits 

22. What is the recruitment process for a D1 or D2 position?
All D1 and D2 positions are advertised in Inspira. The recruitment process generally consists of an eligibility check (does the candidate meet all the requirements as specified in the vacancy announcement?); a suitability check (is this candidate’s experience suitable to the role?); an assessment exercise (often a written exam or other type of simulation exercise or case study); and a Competency Based Interview. The SWTP team is not involved in any of these parts of the recruitment process for any position.

23. Can you tell me more about the pay and benefits I would get as a UN staff?

Please see here for more information. All benefits and entitlements are regulated by the International Civil Service Commission. It is also recommended to read and use the salary calculator that Impactpool refers to in the article - How much do you earn in the United Nations as an International staff member?

General Information

24. Who funds the SWTP?
The SWTP is an extra-budgetary project. Since 2017, the SWTP has been operational due to a generous donation from the United Kingdom. We have also benefited from funding received from Japan.

25. What is the relationship between the SWTP and the Gender Parity Strategy?
The UN Secretary-General attaches top priority to achieving gender parity by 2028, as elaborated in his System-Wide Strategy on Gender Parity. Ambitious year-on-year targets have been circulated to all departments and field missions, including Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions. Field missions accountable for their own targets. While the SWTP pre-dates the Gender Parity Strategy, the Strategy has certainly given new impetus to the SWTP. It has become an important tool of the Secretariat in the outreach to and recruitment of senior women peacekeeping staff.

26. How far is Gender Parity from being reached in Peacekeeping?
For the latest data and information on the UN System’s efforts in achieving Gender Parity, please see here. 

Learn more and apply to the SWTP


Photo: Lisa M. Buttenheim, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for the Department of Field Support, visits the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and related installations. ASG Buttenheim was joined by the Head of UNSOS, Hubert Price, on a visit to Baidoa, Somalia to review the mission operation there with representatives from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

This article was developed in partnership with the United Nations and serves to increase the dissemination and visibility of the Senior Women Talent Pipeline Call for Nominations.

There is no cost associated with submitting nominations and neither the United Nations nor Impactpool charge a fee at any stage of the process.

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