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United Nations YPP

United Nations YPP

United Nations Young Professionals Programme 2024: Understand the program!

What is the United Nations YPP (UN YPP)?

The United Nations Young Professionals Programme is an annual initiative focused on selecting and recruiting distinguished and highly qualified young professionals from different parts of the world. Every year, over 50,000 candidates from a pre-selected list of invited member states, apply for a chance to work as an international civil servant with the United Nations Secretariat. Successful applicants are invited to take part in a professional development program so that they can start a successful career with the organization. Furthermore, the UN YPP Salary is a good starting point for a young professional.

The UN YPP application represents a great entry opportunity for professionals with little experience looking to kick-start their careers at the United Nations. The P-1 and P-2 positions offered to candidates who succeed in this selection process are entry-level professional posts and, therefore, do not require extensive work experience. 

Because of the reason mentioned above, in addition to a competitive remuneration package, career mobility, and the support that successful candidates receive once they are assigned to a position at the organization, this selection process is highly sought-after by many young professionals, making it highly competitive – from the initial 50,000 applicants, it is estimated that the United Nations YPP acceptance rate is around 100 individuals.



Discover our Essential Guide + Application Review Service


OpenIGO Network has prepared a comprehensive manual (PDF E-book) to help you better understand the program itself and the stages of the selection process, allowing you to perform successfully in each of them. The Ebook was written and revised  by a team of Ph.D. professors, human resources specialists and intergovernmental organization staff with a great deal of diligence.

To help you succeed in the United Nations YPP, OpenIGO Network has also developed a series of UN YPP-related services. These include revising your application documents and a mock interview, based on the United Nations Young Professionals Programme model. Click the link below:


UN YPP Overview

Which UN departments and offices can the selected young professionals work in?

When applying for the UN YPP, keep in mind that you are applying for a post with the UN Secretariat and its associated departments. Recruitment for UN Specialized Agencies, Funds and Programmes usually have their own independent selection process, and passing the UN YPP does not put you in an exceptionally favorable position when applying for them.

Listed below, are the main offices and departments that make up the UN Secretariat (there are many other offices, divisions, departments and branches within most of these):

• DPPA – Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
• DPO – Department of Peace Operations (most positions are field based and, therefore, are not included in the UN YPP selection process)
• DOS – Department of Operational Support
• DESA – Department of Economic and Social Affairs
• DGACM – Department for General Assembly and Conference Management
• DGC – Department of Global Communications
• DSS – Department of Safety and Security (most positions are field based and, therefore, are not included in the UN YPP selection process)
• DMSPC – Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance
• EOSG – Executive Office of the Secretary-General
• OIOS – Office of Internal Oversight Services
• OLA – Office of Legal Affairs
• ODA – Office for Disarmament Affairs
• OCHA – Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (most positions are field based and, therefore, are not included in the UN YPP selection process)
• UNOMS – Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services
• OAJ – Office of Administration of Justice
• The Ethics Office
• UNGCO – Global Compact Office
• UNOP – United Nations Office for Partnerships
• UNOG – United Nations Office at Geneva
• OHCHR – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
• UNISDR – Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
• UNON – United Nations Office at Nairobi
• UNOV – United Nations Office at Vienna
• UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
• UN-OHRLLS – Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
• OSAA – Office of the Special Adviser on Africa
• UN-OSAPG – Office of the Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect
• SRSG/CAAC – Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
• RSG/SVC – Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
• SRSG/VAC – Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children

What kind of job opportunities/responsibilities can successful candidates be assigned to?

As an extensive international organization, with multiple activities, projects and goals, the United Nations encompasses a myriad of departments, offices, agencies and other platforms to develop its work. Within each and every one of these bodies, staff members from many different areas of knowledge and expertise come together to successfully achieve their department, office or agency’s goals. Therefore, every UN body will include professionals from different working areas, to take on various responsibilities within the same group.

For the UN YPP selection process, applicants are invited to apply for different exam subjects, depending on the United Nations’ staffing needs.

Descriptions of responsibilities, expected competencies and education requirements differ, depending on the area – the United Nations divides its staff working areas into job networks and job families.  As previously mentioned, within the same department/UN body, job networks and job families may co-exist, forming a staff team with multidisciplinary knowledge and skills.

Each network encompasses a group of job families with common, related and interrelated fields of work and functions. Job families, in turn, are occupations and sub-occupations, grouped into a common field of work. Every year, the UN YPP application lists job categories according to these networks and families and, based on the area you select, you will know what to study for your entrance exam. The job opportunities change on an annual basis and could be available for an entire network or just for specific job families. In 2017, for example, programme vacancies were based on job networks, which meant that one area encompassed all of the corresponding job families:

UN Job Networks
Political, Peace and Humanitarian (POLNET)
Management and Administration (MAGNET)
Public Information and Conference Management (INFONET)
• Civil affairs • Electoral affairs • Human rights affairs • Humanitarian affairs • Political affairs • Rule of law • Security institutions
• Administration • Audit • Ethics • Inspection and evaluation • Investigation • Finance • Human Resources • Investment management • Management and analysis • Ombudsman • Procurement
• Conference services • Documentation and information management • Language • Public information • Protocol

For the 2024-25 edition of the UN YPP, the exam areas are: Political Affairs, Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs; Human Resources, Administration, Management & Analysis; and Finance & Budget. Get our UN YPP Manual now and you’ll have an updated version soon with information about this year’s exam areas with no additional costs. Get it with a discount here!

Remember that, when applying, you must select only one area to submit your application, otherwise you will be disqualified.

UN YPP Minimum Requirements

As previously mentioned, the UN YPP examination is an annual event and candidates must meet the basic eligibility criteria of the current year, in order to apply. The basic requirements are:

UN YPP Age Limit

You must be 32 years old or younger in the year of the examination. The minimum age, in order to be eligible to apply, is 18 years old.

Please bear in mind, there are no exceptions to the UN YPP age requirement. If you do not meet this basic criterion, you could still look for more senior positions within the UN system that have different age prerequisites.


Fluency in all four areas (speaking, writing, reading and understanding) of English OR French is required. If you indicate anything less than “Fluent” in any of these areas during the application process, you will be automatically considered unqualified. All the examination process tests will be available in both languages.  Knowledge of another UN official language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/or Spanish) is an advantage.


One of the constantly changing criteria and that should be analyzed as a priority, is with regards to the “participating countries” – which defines, based on a quota system (aiming to ensure diversity within the UN Secretariat workforce), which countries are invited to participate in the selection that year. The list changes on an annual basis and, in order to apply, candidates must hold the nationality of a minimum of one of the pre-selected member states.

You can only apply for the UN YPP exams under one nationality. If you have more than one, deciding which one to use may benefit you in the process. For instance, if you take into consideration, which country (of the ones you are a national) is under-represented in the UN Secretariat, or the number of nationals applying for the program, you could improve your chances of qualifying in the exam. This is an important strategy, considering that of all the applicants, only the best 60 per country, for each area, are invited for the first part of the UN YPP written exam.

Please note that prospective nationality and residency status does NOT qualify as nationality for application to the UN YPP exams. You must prove your nationality by presenting a passport or national identity card.



As a minimum, you must hold a first-level university degree (Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree of a minimum of three years) relevant for the exam area you are applying for.

This means that a candidate’s academic qualifications should be in areas co-related/covered by the UN YPP exam areas for that year and which they intend to apply for.

For 2019, for example, in order to be eligible, education-wise for the exam in the “Economic Affairs” area, candidates were required to have an undergraduate degree in one of the following areas, as a minimum:

Sociology, Economics, Statistics, Mathematics, Demography, Public Administration, Governance, Political Science, Business Administration, Law, Public Finance, and other social sciences or related fields


PAY ATTENTION: When you prepare your application in Inspira, if you don’t see your exact degree listed, choose the Field of Study that is closest to your degree, from the “Field of Study” and “Main Course of Study” dropdown menus; then type the exact title in the original language as well as its translation in English or French in the additional comment boxes. Do NOT select “other” for Main Course of Study or Field of Study, or you will be automatically disqualified. These details matter, that’s why we recommend that you have your UN YPP application documents reviewed!

Work Experience

Previous professional experience is not required. However, relevant work experience will be used to rank candidates, especially if there are more than 60 from the same country applying for the UN Young Professionals Programme. The UN advises applicants to be precise and succinct about their work experience, using short bullet points to describe the main duties of each role performed.

As you can see, apart from the annual changes on the list of participating countries, the basic requirements remain the same:

UN YPP - Basic Requirements
• You must hold the nationality of a participating member state
• You cannot be older than 32 at the end of the examination year
• As a minimum, you must hold a first-level university degree (Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree of a minimum three years) relevant for the exam area you are applying for
• You must be fluent in either English or French.

 Basic criteria for UN Staff Members

Staff members can apply either through an external application (meeting the requirements listed above) or in line with special staff criteria. According to the United Nations, if you are a staff member of the organization in the General Service and related staff categories, or in the Field Service category, and do not meet the above criteria, you can still participate in the examination, if you meet the following prerequisites:

  • You have a minimum of five years’ continuous Secretariat experience;
  • You have had a completely successful performance in your last two performance appraisals;
  • You have a United Nations appointment valid until at least six months after the examination date;
  • You meet the minimum educational criteria for the job family you are interested in applying for.

UN YPP Application

How to apply for the UN YPP?

The United Nations YPP selection process comprises different stages and they are all carried out virtually. The application usually opens during early June and closes in early August. 

 UN YPP Selection Process – Infographic

UN YPP - Infographic

Here is an overview of the three main stages of this process and a brief section providing information on notification of the results.

Personal History Profile (PHP) / Online Application (1st Stage)

This first stage is carried out entirely online, through a Human Resources Gateway called “Inspira”. This is an online recruitment system introduced by the UN in March 2010, and through which the UN Secretariat carries out its internal and external selection processes.

In order to apply, candidates must consider the following:

1 – UN YPP Eligibility

Make sure you review the basic application criteria and the list of invited member states.  If you meet all of the listed requirements, you may continue with your application.

2 – Job Opening

Review the released list with the selected job categories/openings for the UN YPP of that year. Make sure you meet the requirements for the exam subject you are interested in.

  3 – Apply

Apply to the selected job opening through Inspira.

Screening applicants

Applicants will be automatically filtered out if:

1. They do not meet the basic application criteria
2. They do not meet the specific job requirements listed in the job opening (such as having the nationality of the country of service)
3. They go against specific organization requirements or regulations (if you are a child or sibling of a UN Secretariat staff member, you are not eligible to take part in the UN YPP)

* Please note that although professional experience is not listed as one of the minimum requirements for someone to apply for the UN YPP, relevant professional experience is a desired additional asset for a candidate.

If more than 60 candidates from the same country apply to the same exam area, they will be filtered further and ranked by a Human Resources Officer, according to points given for the following additional qualifications: education level achieved, knowledge of official UN languages and relevant work experience. Taking this into consideration, the chances of a candidate being selected without work experience are very limited.

The Inspira system performs most of the initial screening stages automatically, which means that recruiters do not see the applications that do not meet these basic requirements. It is only after this first process, that leaves around 25% of candidates still in the running, that recruiters begin to examine the applications.

Pay extreme attention when applying for the program:  many potential candidates do not pass the screening stage, due to incomplete or inaccurate applications.

If your application was successful, you will be informed that you are invited for the written examination. If it is determined that you are not eligible to apply, or if your application was unsuccessful, you will not be informed via e-mail.

With the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in this stage of the selection process, OpenIGO Network has put together a thorough Application Review service for YPP candidates, to help you prepare your documents with extreme care and enhance the quality of your PHP. Click on the link to find out more:

Application Review

What is the UN YPP Written Examination?

UN YPP Written Examination (2nd Stage)

The United Nations YPP written examination (or YPP Exam) consists of a General and a Specialised Paper.

The General Paper

This test is the same for all United Nations YPP examinations, independent of the area you chose to apply for and it assesses a variety of competencies considered essential in an international civil servant such as written communication skills, understanding of the United Nations, reasoning, and logical skills, selected competencies. Currently, the General Paper is no longer a summary writing exercise: it is a multiple-choice test available in either French or English. Study topics include:

1. General knowledge of International Relations and current global issues;
2. General knowledge of the structure, mode of operation, and mandate of the United Nations;
3. Values and competencies sought by the United Nations;
4. Logic and analytical skills.


The Specialised Paper (Parts I and II)

This paper is divided into two different sections and is different for each area of the examination. It is designed to test substantial knowledge of the subject of the exam candidates have specifically applied for.

– (Part I): Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with a variable number of questions (up to 50), depending on and relevant to the exam area the candidate applied for. Candidates are required to take this test along with the General Paper in the 1st stage of the examination.

– (Part II): Constructed Response Items – open-ended questions, with a variable number of questions (up to 15) and length of answers (some may require a response of up to four pages long and with a suggested word limit).

The Specialised Paper is available in both English and French, and some open-ended questions can be answered in any of the six official UN languages language (including Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).

Be aware that although the written examination is divided into two different sections (General and Specialized), the phases of this process do not follow the same logic of division:

Phase 01- General Paper + Part I Specialised Paper (both parts MCQs)

Phase 02 – Part II Specialised Paper (Constructed Response Items)

Please note that only the “top 60” applicants per country (per Exam Area) will be convoked to the first phase of the written examination. A maximum of 40 will move on to the second phase of the exam.

 The UN YPP examination will be conducted via an online testing platform. Candidates invited for this stage of the selection process will be responsible for identifying and securing a location suitable for them to complete the examination (i.e., a computer with a reliable internet connection). Further information regarding the online testing platform and suggestions for a suitable testing environment will be provided to those invited for the examination.

Every year, the UN publishes a suggested reading list for the different exam areas candidates can apply for, based on the job families/job networks announced for that year. Read more info here!

Test assessment

The first cut-off:

Those successful in the 1st phase of the written examination will be invited to participate in the second phase.

The second cut-off:

Those also successful in the Constructed Response Items (Specialised Paper Part II), will then move on to the competency-based interview stage.

At this stage of the scoring, the “nationality rule”, regarding the selection of the top 40 applicants from each country, is no longer considered. The candidates with a score exceeding the cut-off points, independent of nationality, will move forward.

Do you want to know how to be successful in the UN YPP Written Test? Check out the following magazine post!

Understanding the UN YPP Written Exam!

UN YPP Interview

 UN YPP “Competency-Based” Interview (3rd Stage)

After passing the written examination, successful candidates will be invited for an interview.

The United Nations YPP Oral Examination consists of a competency-based video-conference interview, in which each candidate is interviewed by a panel made up of members of a Specialised Examination Board. The competency-based interview aims to test your consistency with the United Nations’ values and competencies, based on your past performance and experience.

Interviews are usually held via Skype, or over the phone. All candidates are interviewed through the same method, so if one interview is conducted over the phone, all the others will follow the same procedure.

Interview Structure

Candidates are usually asked two types of questions:

  • Introductory questions (a question regarding the main motivation that led the candidate to apply for the UN YPP or a generic “tell me about yourself” question might be asked )
  • Competency assessment questions

In the past, candidates used to be asked technical questions during the interview stage, regarding, more specifically, their exam area of choice. For some years now, the technical, or substantive, aspect of the job is covered through the written examination process and these questions have no longer been asked.

United Nations YPP Interview Questions

Interviews will be assessed – on a numeric scale – by panel members, taking the following aspects into consideration:

  1. Context/Situation
  2. Action
  3. Result/Impact/Learning

Every candidate should try to incorporate these aspects into their answers as efficiently as possible. When telling a story and giving examples, certify that you are clearly expressing the situation and have brought up a suitable context, to answer the question. Identify the actions you took to solve the issue, problem or situation, and conclude by highlighting the lessons learned, the impact your action had on other people and how the story ended.

Notification of Results

 Results will be available in the middle of the following year of the application, and successful candidates will be individually informed via e-mail that they have passed the United Nations YPP examination. Since the number of applicants may vary for each examination area, final notifications may arrive on different dates.

To help you feel more secure and greatly improve your performance during the interview stage, OpenIGO Network has developed a mock interview, as per the United Nations YPP model, with a specialized professional who has extensive experience. Click on the link below to find out more about our United Nations YPP Mock Interview service:

Mock Interview


UN YPP - Career

Career Prospects

Roster and Placement

Successful YPP candidates are placed on a roster and prioritized for upcoming United Nations staff positions. The roster is a reserve list, with pre-assessed and eligible candidates who no longer need to be interviewed to take on a post.

Candidates who succeed in the UN YPP examination process are not guaranteed an immediate post and, if they are not placed in a staff position within three years of being listed on the roster, the candidate will have to reapply for the program in order to be considered again for recruitment.

Contract offered

A two-year fixed term contract is offered to candidates who are selected for a post from the roster. This initiates their professional career with the UN Secretariat. After two years’ experience, a continuing contract may be granted, subject to satisfactory performance.

Assignments (level of first placement)

Upon selection, successful YPP candidates will be initially appointed at the P-1 or P-2 level, depending on their qualifications:

- Successful applicants holding a bachelor’s degree with no work experience
- Successful applicants holding a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two years’ work experience
- Successful applicants holding a Master’s degree ( even with no work experience)

Selected candidates will attend a two-week orientation program prior to starting their first assignment. It is expected that candidates serve for a minimum of two years in their first placement position before being considered for appointment to a different one.

Rotation (Managed Reassignment Programme)

Aiming to provide junior professional staff with new work experiences and diverse professional skills, the Managed Reassignment Program (MRP) invites those – with a minimum two-year experience – in their first role to select other positions of interest.  Depending on the availability of posts, junior professionals may be reassigned, usually to a different department and duty station.  Those who are not successful may be required to participate in the following MRP.

UN YPP Salary and Benefits

United Nations YPP Salary and Benefits

Competitive salary (average salary for entry level)

The base salary throughout the UN is determined by the grade of the post specified in the job opening and the existence of any dependents.

Annual net base salary ranges approximately in USD$:

UN System - Base Salary
37,000 - 80,000For entry level professionals (P1 - P3)
67,000 - 106,000For mid-career professionals (P4 - P5)
95,000 - 123,000For senior level professionals (D1 - D2)

*Salaries, grants and allowances paid by the United Nations are normally exempt from income tax.

Public Holidays and Leave

Depending on the type of contract, staff will be entitled to between 18 and 30 days of vacation per year. In addition, the United Nations also includes 10 paid public holidays per year; these differ from duty station to duty station.

If recruited internationally, staff may also be eligible for home leave travel to renew their social, cultural and family ties in their home country; frequency depends on the duty station they are assigned to.

The UN also makes provisions for maternity, paternity, and adoption leave, with full pay. It may range from between two and sixteen weeks, depending on the type of leave requested.

Health Insurance

You will be eligible to participate in one of the United Nations-sponsored medical insurance plans. The monthly premiums are divided between you and the organization.

Social security and retirement pension

If you have an appointment for six months or more, or upon completing six consecutive months of service within the organization, you become a participant in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. A mandatory monthly contribution is deducted from your salary.

Career Support

The United Nations takes the professional development of their staff members very seriously and from the moment you join the organization, a wide selection of career development assets and platforms are made available to you:

  • Several week-long Orientation and Development Programmes for entry-level professionals
  • A wide menu of workshops at the Career Resource Centre/New York
  • One-on-one career consultations with senior career counselors
  • 10 years of Mentoring at the UN
  • On-line courses and books on career development
  • Regular information sessions for spouses/ partners of UN staff, included on a “dual career”
  • Bi-annual pre-retirement information sessions

Other benefits

United Nations staff members may also be entitled to other allowances and benefits including:


  • In the case of a dependent spouse and/or child(ren), dependency allowances may be granted
  • Under certain conditions, an education grant, if you have eligible children at school.
  • At some duty stations, a hardship allowance, linked to living and working conditions, is paid and where there are restrictions on taking family members, a non-family hardship allowance is also applicable.

Assignment / Repatriation

  • A rent subsidy may be provided to someone newly arrived at a duty station, if the rent prices are high in proportion to the total remuneration package.
  • Travel and shipping expenses, when you move from one duty station to another.
  • An assignment grant, to assist you in meeting initial, extraordinary costs, when arriving at, or relocating to, a new duty station.
  • Hazard pay and a rest and recuperation break, when you serve in locations where the conditions are particularly hazardous, stressful and difficult.

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