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UN exam opens a world of opportunity

By He Wei in Shanghai  (China Daily)

15:55, July 10, 2012

New test will target talent and boost numbers at global body

A series of measures, including a recruitment drive and "significantly raising'' the workforce at the United Nations, will be introduced over the next three years as the nation's share of the UN budget increases, a leading human resources official said on Monday.

The deployment of high-caliber talent to the UN will also be accelerated, said Dai Xiaochu, deputy director of the department of international cooperation at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

"We are preparing to introduce the Young Professional Program next year as a gateway to the UN through an annual entrance exam," Dai told China Daily.

The program, approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2010, will replace the National Competitive Recruitment Examination, the existing hiring channel in China and is targeted to attract talented people under the age of 32.

Currently, the number of Chinese UN staff members is below the "desired range", which is calculated on a formula that includes demographics and GDP, Dai said. But the budget contribution is the decisive factor.

"For instance, China should have 80 to 100 international civil servants, at least, working for the (UN) secretariat. But we only have around 70," Dai said.

Dai said the program will better assist underrepresented countries to bring in fresh talent, as it involves a much faster placement process and more diversified opportunities for field experience.

According to the UN's recruitment website, passing the exam does not guarantee immediate employment. Candidates are put on a roster and it might take years before a candidate successfully lands a job.

But applicants for the program will be informed of up to three potential job vacancies and given an opportunity to indicate their preferences within nine months after the exam.

Recruits will initially be given a two-year fixed-term appointment followed by a career contract, provided their performance is satisfactory.

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