In the decade (1997-2007) several major changes occurred in the UN Common System:

  • The number of staff members increased by more than 20,000, with the UN Secretariat having the highest increase.
  • The proportion of regular budget funded posts fell from 56% to 32% of total posts
  • The average age declined only by 0.8 years
  • The proportion of both Professional and General Service staff holding “fixed term” contracts increased from 58% to 84%.
  • The overall number of women in the Professional and higher categories increased by 6%
    • P1 from 58 to 56%,
    • P2 from 52 to 56,
    • P3 from 41 to 43,
    • P4 from 29 to 36%
    • P5 from 21 to 30%,
    • D1 from 17 to 27%,
    • D2 from 15 to 23%,
    • USG from 13 to 25%

 however it still remains far from the gender balance 50/50 at P4 levels and above.

  • The percentage of Professional staff who left the organization within 5 years of service went from 38% to 50% of the total
  • The percentage of General Service staff who left the organization within 10 years of service went from 51% to 70% of the total

Length of Appointment among Professionals

The length of appointment is an important tool to describe changes in the UN workforce. Ten years ago professional staff tended to remain at the UN for a longer period (only 38% left the organizations in the first 5 years of service and about 50% after serving 10 years) in 2007 almost 50% of professional staff left the organization in the first five years of service and more than 70% decided to leave in the first ten years.

Source: Personnel statistics 1997 - 2007

Comparison between the UN and the Other Organizations

Personnel Statistics 1997-2007


The Total Staff chart shows the total number of staff employed in the UN Common System. The number of UN Secretariat staff members in comparison to the total number of staff members in all the UN organizations. Almost all the organizations show an increasing number of staff members and the total increase in the UN system is 23175 staff members. The UN Secretariat registered the highest increase. This is due to the addition of Peacekeeping operations personnel.

Human Resources Themes