The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

About UNHCR:

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, takes the lead in protecting people forced to flee wars and persecution around the world, providing life-saving aid including shelter, food and water to ensure their basic safety, rights and dignity. With 16,765 women and men working in over 138 countries, we use our expertise to protect and care for 68.5 million worldwide.

Our dedicated and professional staff work around the clock in roles including legal protection, community services, public affairs, health and more. Despite the challenges they can face, our staff are proud to work for UNHCR and determined to make a positive impact. #WithRefugees

Working for UNHCR

Joining UNHCR means living, sharing and promoting the organization’s core values relating to inclusion, diversity and gender equality.

UNHCR’s workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. We seek to sustain and strengthen this diversity and to ensure equal opportunities, as well as an inclusive working environment, for our entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on the grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

What we are looking for:

Passion for humanitarian work
At least an undergraduate degree from a UNESCO accredited institution (international staff)
Successful completion of secondary education (general/field service)
Relevant work experience and skills
Proficiency in English and working knowledge of another UN language may be required
Ability to work in diverse teams
Willingness to serve in hardship locations/rotate from one duty station to another

Interested in joining UNHCR?

With so many great roles and such an important job to do, the UNHCR can offer a career that will truly make a difference.

Around the World in Many Ways

UNHCR staff operate in some 138 countries around the world, from major capitals to remote, difficult locations where our field staff are directly helping the most vulnerable victims of displacement. We maintain offices in donor countries worldwide and wherever refugees are arriving, working closely with governments to ensure the 1951 Refugee Convention is honoured.

Staff at the Geneva headquarters now number just over 9 per cent of our total, a declining portion as UNHCR moves to decentralize and get closer to the people we assist. Geneva, along with our Global Service Centre in Budapest, Hungary, provides support for the rest of UNHCR, including key administrative functions. But about 90% of staff are in the field.

Also, see:

Hana, UNHCR’s protection officer, helps refugees heading for the bus that will transport them to Opatovac transit centre. ; Large groups of refugees arrive in Croatia by crossing the border near Bapska before heading toward Opatovac transit centre and continuing their journey to Hungary.

Due to ongoing conflicts and new emergencies, UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency is faced with an unprecedented number of displaced people. Seeking to improve the diversity of its workforce, UNHCR is reaching out to women who are seeking not only a fulfilling and rewarding career but who really want to use their skills to help those in need.

Women enjoy impressive careers at UNHCR

Many talented women work for UNHCR in a wide variety of roles. Overall 80 per cent of UNHCR’s employees work in the field and these are challenging, yet very rewarding, roles.

Hear what some of UNHCR’s impressive female talent say about working at UNHCR.

“UNHCR supports your career path through internal and external training opportunities so employees can stay in a specialist function role or move into management positions. There’s a lot of support and encouragement for women at UNHCR,” explains Julie Dunphy, Senior Policy and Liaison Officer (Division of Emergency, Security and Supply) in Geneva.

“A key priority for the Division of Human Resources is to attract women and men into the organisation who bring diversity in experience, language, nationality and skills – and in so doing, UNHCR will make every effort to also close gender gaps, comments” Karen Farkas, Director of Human Resources Management.

“With very little, we can make a big difference,” says Millicent Mutuli, Deputy Director Africa Bureau in Geneva.

In accordance with the recently released strategy by the Secretary-General on achieving gender parity before 2030, UNHCR has put measures in place to attain this goal.  UNHCR encourages qualified women to apply to international vacancies and functional profiles in the talent pool which can be found on the careers website:



A Podcast with Melissa Fleming

We have launched a new project which is a podcast on what it takes to be a humanitarian worker in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous locations.


You can subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or Spotify. Find more information here.

Company Statistics


Geneva, Switzerland

Number of employees


Date established