FC 107/16

Finance Committee

Hundred and Seventh Session

Rome, May 2004

Action Plan on Recruitment from Under-Represented Countries

Table of Contents

I. Background

1. At its 97th Session, in September 2000, the Finance Committee considered a Report on Human Resources Management which outlined the key HR issues and strategies to be addressed by FAO in line with the Organization’s Medium Term Plan. The issue of strengthening recruitment to redress under-representation of certain Member States forms an integral part of this strategy document and will be further addressed in a progress report to be submitted to the Finance Committee in September 2004 on this subject. While under-representation is being discussed separately at this session in conformity with the Council’s request, it will in future be incorporated into the HR progress report.

2. At its Hundred and Twenty-fifth session, (26-28 November 2003) the Council considered the recommendations of the 104th Session of the Finance Committee concerning a change in the formula used in FAO for the determination of equitable geographic distribution. Following a preliminary review of the options proposed by the Finance Committee, the Council established a Working Group to analyse the specific issues related to the revision of the formula and to report directly to the Thirty-second Session of the Conference on this matter. The Council also noted at that time the need to take further concrete measures to redress the under-representation of certain Member States, irrespective of the methodology adopted and requested that the Secretariat should report to the Finance Committee on this matter at its next session. The present document is therefore submitted in response to that request.

II. Current Representation Status of Member States

3. Consequent to the adoption by the Conference in December 2003 of the new formula for calculation of equitable geographical representation, the following changes in the representation status of Member States has taken place:

4. There are now a total of 20 under-represented countries and 33 countries that are non-represented. Of the under-represented countries, 12 were under-represented under the previous formula and another 7 countries became under-represented as a result of the introduction of the new formula.

5. The key impact of the new methodology will be to open up recruitment options from a wider range of countries by increasing considerably the number of countries (from 60 to 125) that are now equitably-represented. Non-represented and under-represented countries (a total of 52) will continue to be areas of special attention for targeted recruitment.

6. An analysis of the situation with respect to the representation and recruitment from significantly under-represented countries reveals that FAO is not receiving adequate numbers of qualified applicants from these countries. The analysis also indicates that FAO shortlists and selects proportionally more candidates from under-represented countries than apply. This indicates that FAO has an applicant field problem, i.e. inadequate number of qualified applicants from these countries which the Organization wishes to target for recruitment. Accordingly FAO cannot continue to place a disproportionate reliance on the advertisement of vacancies through the FAO website and traditional distribution channels.

7. The reasons for under-representation and for the difficulty the Organization has in recruiting from certain Member States are diverse and complex. These include the fact that FAO is not well known in many key recruitment markets, the lack of competitiveness of the UN common system pay package (particularly given the high standards of qualification and experience sought), difficulties in meeting some basic requirements such as language skills and relevant international experience and the difficulties experienced in attracting staff with families to the Rome duty station, particularly where there is a working spouse.

III. Plan of Action - Active Recruitment

8. To address the issue of severe under-representation requires both proactive and longer term strategies. Passive recruitment approaches will always be problematic in terms of attracting the requisite numbers of technically qualified candidates who are not from geographically over-represented countries.

Improving FAO’s profile as an employer

Extending FAO’s global outreach

9. FAO has placed an increased emphasis on making better use of the Internet for advertisement and search purposes. Internet contacts are being established with particular recruitment networks within targeted countries. These include professional and alumni associations, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, etc. In addition efforts are underway to strengthen relationships with recruitment sources in those countries which are being targeted for recruitment for the purpose of circulation of vacancy announcements and information about FAO. Also resulting from this process is the development of a consolidated website mail list related to FAO areas of work.

10. Publicity materials in the form of standard brochure/employment kits describing FAO, its role and mandate, as well as employment opportunities are being more widely distributed to all FAO Regional and Liaison Offices. These are continually updated to include material targeted at particular audiences. They are also used in support of recruitment missions.

Targetted Recruitment

Recruitment Missions

11. FAO has already launched recruitment missions in some non-represented and severely under-represented Member States (Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand). As a consequence of recruitment missions FAO has succeeded in raising the Organization’s profile in the local recruitment market, obtaining intelligence on the recruitment market and establishing contacts with recruitment sources. In this context, the benefits of such missions will be more evident over the longer term, rather than as a means of recruiting to individual vacancies open at the time of the mission.

12. As a result of the Recruitment Mission to Japan in 2003, there has already been an increase in the applications received and appointments made of Japanese nationals. The Organization will continue to assess the cost-effectiveness of these missions and organize them as appropriate.

Participation in Job Fairs at universities in target countries

13. While FAO has participated at Job Fairs in the US, this activity did not form part of the HR strategy on redressing the non-representation and severe under-representation of certain Member States. This is now part of the HR strategy and already AFH has participated in a Job Fair in Switzerland. FAO will increasingly raise its profile at Job Fairs, targeting young professionals from under-represented countries as well as universities in countries where overseas students are studying. Particular emphasis will be placed on attending Job Fairs at universities, specialising in areas of interest to FAO and where many students from overseas universities are studying.

Identifying young professional candidates

14. As indicated earlier redressing severe under-representation requires a longer term strategy. Such a strategy supports the need to recruit increased numbers of younger professionals from severely under-represented countries. This also provides the opportunity to address the ageing nature of the FAO professional cadre. Apart from actively developing networks (universities) and Internet listings for professional and technical candidates from such countries, FAO is building up rosters of qualified young professionals from severely under-represented countries through the use of generic job advertisements during recruitment missions. In this regard Associate Professional Officers (APOs) who have acquired the requisite experience with FAO will form part of the recruitment pool for Young Professionals from target countries.

Strengthening contact between divisions and potential recruitment sources in target countries.

15. Departments are being encouraged to actively establish contacts with networks in target countries (professional associations, universities, and non-governmental organizations etc) and also to take advantage of the travel of staff for other programme activities to include presentations on the work of FAO as well as interviewing potential candidates.

IV. Role of Member States

16. While FAO will continue to meet its commitment to redress the non and severe under representation of certain Member States, it must be acknowledged that success will require concerted action by both FAO and Member States themselves. Governments need to recognize that under-representation is a shared responsibility and that there are actions that can be taken at their level to improve the situation in the the long term.

17. Governments could play a key role in ensuring that their nationals are well equipped to compete at the international level for FAO jobs. In this regard governments could, for example, encourage foreign language training in universities; support training abroad; develop science and technology exchange programmes; support the funding of Associate Professional Officers (APOs); and publicize themselves both the work of FAO and employment opportunities within the Organization. In the end, the solution for this problem will only come from an enlarged pool of technically qualified candidates with international experience and appropriate language skills.

V. Conclusion

18. The outcome of initiatives taken and the results achieved in each of the areas mentioned in this action plan will be included in future Progress Reports on Human Resources Management Issues to the Finance Committee.