UN Jobs

Ultimate Guide to the United Nations Young Professionals Programme

United Nations Professionals Programme descriprion

The UN Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is a recruitment initiative for talented, highly qualified professionals to start a profession as an international civil servant with the UN Secretariat. It consists of an entrance examination process and professional growth once those who are thriving start their career with the UN.

Application Process

The YPP examination is held once a year and is open to nationals of countries that are un- or under-represented in the United Nations. The list of partaking countries is published annually on the YPP home page of the UN Careers website and varies from year to year.

Depending on the staffing demands of the UN, applicants are invited to apply for various exam subjects each year. Descriptions of responsibilities and needed educational qualifications and professional competencies differ depending on the subject area. Eligible candidates who are interested in the exam area must apply through Inspira, the UN staff selection system. The basic application criteria for nominees include:

  • You ought to be a national of a participating country.
  • You will require at least a first-level university degree appropriate to the exam (at least a relevant Bachelor’s degree or a 3-year equivalent degree).
  • You need to be 32 years or younger in the year of the examination.
  • You need to be fluent in either English or French.

All applications will be screened for eligibility for each exam subject. If more than 40 applicants from the same country are eligible for the same exam area, those applicants will be additionally screened and ranked based on the highest level of education completed, understanding of official UN languages, and appropriate work experience.

Examination Structure

The examination process consists of a written and a verbal stage. The written examination is administered online and may be performed in either one or two stages. Previous to finalizing the results of the written examination, candidates may be subject to further verification via a brief, online, proctored assessment.

The written examination consists of a General Paper and a Specialized Paper:

  • The General Paper is the same for all YPP examinations that are scheduled on the same date. It must be completed in either English or French and assesses fundamental skills needed to work in a complicated international organization like the United Nations.
  • The Specialized Paper tests substantive knowledge of the subject area and often includes multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions. The number of questions may vary based on the exam area.

Prospects who pass the written examination will be invited to take part in the oral examination, which is a competency-based video-conference interview with a panel of members of the Specialized Examination Board. At the end of the evaluation process, all nominees will be individually notified of their results.

The YPP recruitment exam is not presented in every subject every year, so it’s important to check the website periodically to see if the test is being offered in your subject area, particularly if you are close to the age cut-off age of 32 years.

Application Process

1. Confirm your eligibility

Carefully check the basic application criteria on this page.

2. Check the Job Opening

The YPP application period typically opens each June. The job openings, specific to each exam area, will be found through the Job Search function in Inspira or the UN Careers Portal. Read carefully to check if you meet the requirements.

3. Make your application 

You can make your application in the United Nations Portal.

If you need a guide for making an application in UN, please click here.

Application Evaluation

Applications will be screened to determine if they meet the basic eligibility necessities (i.e., nationality, age, education, language).

If more than 40 applicants from the same country are eligible for an exam area, those applicants will be screened and ranked based on the highest level of education completed, understanding of official UN languages, and appropriate work background.

If the exam happens in two stages, then 60 applicants per country/per exam area may be invited/convoked to the first exam stage, with a maximum of 40 per country/per exam area moving to the second stage.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application.

Guide to application

Precision and Fullness

Be sure to follow the steps to check the job opening and prepare the application, as many potential applicants do not pass the screening stage due to incomplete or incorrect applications.

Screening Questions

Reply to the screening questions carefully. They are intended to confirm eligibility and help to automatically screen application


Applicants should enter their nationality for YPP consideration in the field marked “Country of Nationality.” “Nationality at Birth” and “Other Nationalities” are not considered for YPP eligibility.

Don’t forget to attach a government-issued photo ID with your nationality listed!


Select the Main Course of Study and Field of Study options from the pull-down menu that best reflect your education.

If you do not find the same degree title listed in the menu options, explain any difference under “Additional Comments.”

Avoid selecting “Other” in these two fields.

The “Specialization” field will not be considered in the screening process.

Remember to attach documentation of degrees received!

Work Background

While work background is not an eligibility requirement for YPP, depending on the volume of applicants from each country, appropriate work experience may be used to rank nominees. Please be specific and succinct about your work experience.


Nominees must be fluent in all four areas (speak, read, write, understand) in English or French.

Indicating anything less than “Fluent” in any of those areas is disqualifying.

Read also: What is life like at United Nation Advantages and UN Structure


Placement On the Roster

Those who are thriving in the YPP examination process will be placed on a roster used to fill appropriate vacancies.

Nominees may be selected from the roster as relevant vacancies become available across the UN Secretariat.

The roster is valid, and used to fill positions, for a period of three years.

It is significant to understand that placement on the roster does not guarantee an offer of employment.

Type and Level of Contract Offered

Nominees selected from the roster will be offered a two-year fixed-term contract at the start of their Professional career with the UN. After two years, and subject to satisfactory implementation, they may be granted a continuing contract.

YPP placements are at either a P-1 or P-2 level:

  • P-1 level for prospects holding a bachelor’s degree and no work experience.
  • P-2 level for prospects holding a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience, or a master’s degree and no work experience.

Location of First Placement

YPP-placed staff are anticipated to serve for a minimum of two years in that position before being evaluated for appointment to another position.

Positions may become available at different UN Secretariat offices, including, but not limited to: Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, New York, Santiago, Vienna.

Successful nominees must be willing to be placed in a position at any UN duty station or field operation.

Read also: Diversity and Inclusion at UN

Managed Reassignment Programme

Once a year, junior professionals with a minimum of 2 years in their first function will be asked to partake in a Managed Reassignment Program (MRP). They are invited to select other positions of interest to them so they can be reassigned to another position, normally in a separate department and/or duty station.

The objective of MRP is to provide staff with new possibilities to diversify and develop their career, gain new skills, and create a solid foundation for their career advancement.

Share via: