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Director at the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Expired on: May 25, 2022
Job Category: Human Resource
Job Type: Contract
Job Location: Switzerland

About The World Trade Organization (WTO)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Job Description

The Human Resources Division is responsible for the human resources management of over 700 WTO staff members (regular and temporary). The division’s responsibilities include the development and implementation of HR strategies, policies and practices, in the areas of performance management, learning and development, workforce planning, talent acquisition, career management, compensation & rewards, and staff benefits & entitlements. The goal of the division is to respond to the evolving needs of the WTO, strategically aligning the workforce to the objectives of the organization, and ensuring that the WTO continues to be an employer of choice and attracts the best talent.

The WTO Secretariat is currently going through a structural review and transformation process, where the incumbent will be part of the group of Directors forming the Transformation Advisory Committee. Particular changes to HR processes in reward, performance management, promotions, recognitions and mobility are in train and the successful candidate will be expected to lead the HR team in implementing these changes and ensuring WTO HR policies are in line with best international practice, especially in multilateral organizations. The HR Division is also implementing a new HR Information system (HRIS) – Phase 1 covering Human Capital Management, Compensation and Benefits, Recruitment modules was completed in 2021 and Phase 2 covering Learning Management System and Advanced Compensation modules will be launched 2022. The incumbent will follow closely and provide HR expertise and advice on these projects, and ensure follow-through on implementation.

General Functions

Reporting to a Deputy Director-General and working in close coordination with the Office of the Director-General, the incumbent will lead the Human Resources Division to deliver a comprehensive and professional HR service for the WTO Secretariat.

In general, the incumbent will oversee the following:

1.         Establish and implement an HR strategy aligned with the Organization’s goals; play an active role in the Organization’s change management process and ensure state-of-the-art and up-to-date HR systems and policies that are aligned with the outcome of the structural review and transformation.

2.         Be a proponent of change and enable the development of modern and effective HR policies and practices; inspire trust and gain the support of stakeholders in change management process.

3.         Represent the Division and provide strategic advice on matters related to HR in meetings with senior management and in-house committees.

4.         Ensure that the Secretariat acquires, develops and retains talent according to the changing needs of the Organization. Conceptualize and implement an effective internal and external mobility programme as part of staff development opportunities.

5.         Oversee the timely and efficient delivery of staff services including payroll and a range of benefits.

6.         Lead, motivate and guide managers and staff in the Division. Establish responsibilities and performance objectives, provide feedback on their performance and implement any changes required. Build the divisional team, developing the potential of the team members, ensuring they are trained as required and providing leadership by setting standards.

7.         Continuously improve HR processes including the new HR system with a view to increase efficiencies and effectiveness.

8.         Implement modern state of the art performance management processes.

9.         Oversee HR data and workforce analysis and provide senior management with useful and pertinent information to drive decisions.

10.       Help manage and improve diversity of WTO Staff to better represent its 164 members.

11.       Represent the WTO in external fora and establish and maintain contacts with other intergovernmental organizations.



Advanced university degree in human resources management, law, business administration, occupational psychology, industrial/public/organizational management, or in another discipline with relevance to human resource management. Alternatively, a university degree in the aforementioned areas combined with extensive relevant work experience could be considered in lieu of an advanced university degree.

Knowledge and Skills:

Technical Knowledge and Skills:

The WTO is looking for an individual who deeply understands HR management in international organisations, understands HR, is well versed in the latest practices, has a strategic vision and a track record in implementation of organisational transformation.

The HR Director must have the skills to guide, empower and motivate a team of about 30 staff members to excel in their jobs. S/he must be able to build a team culture that consistently delivers high-quality results. Excellent demonstrated management and organizational skills (planning and organizing work, managing people and performance, managing resources) are essential.

The successful candidate must be capable of strategic thinking and a forward-looking approach in advising on the needs of the Secretariat against limited resources and rising demands. S/he must quickly learn the regulations, rules and policies of the WTO and administer them in an objective and consistent manner. S/he must be capable of sound legal reasoning. The HR Director must have good analytical skills, recognize competing interests, and be able to present sound solutions in a convincing manner.

S/he must have good presentation skills to communicate with the WTO Members, other international organizations and various stakeholders.

Behavioural Skills:

The WTO is looking for a person with a well-balanced, pleasant personality, mature, stable and with a good set of values, including openness to diversity (ethnic and racial) and gender; someone who is a good listener, a team player, who is capable of leading by example, and earns respect through her/his competence. S/he must be able to accept and manage conflict, preferably without creating winners and losers. The person is expected to have a transparent empathic approach when dealing with staff while having the strength to execute rules-based administrative decisions. S/he must be clear and confident in presenting comprehensive explanations when making unpopular decisions. S/he must be able to accommodate opposing views and have the skill to win people over to new ideas and approaches. To do this, the incumbent must be able to build a sound rapport with people throughout the whole hierarchy including the Staff Council. At the same time incumbent must operate with a duty of care to the organisation, bearing its best interests in mind, as well as to staff.

The successful candidate will demonstrate openness, fairness and transparency as her/his own guiding principles. S/he must be a proactive communicator, approachable to all grades, and a results-oriented and patient service provider.

High ethical standards and the ability to ensure adherence by others to established rules of conduct are also required.

Work Experience:

At least 15 years of professional experience in senior HR roles in an international organization or public administration. Private sector experience will be a plus. An understanding of the operational needs of the WTO would be an asset. Experience in leading teams through change management, from planning to implementation.


Excellent knowledge of English and working knowledge of French is required. Knowledge of Spanish would be an advantage.

How to Apply

To apply for the above position, please click on the link below. Please ensure to apply according to the instruction provided in the box below. Any other form of application outside what is stated will not be entertained.

Interested and qualified candidates should Click here to apply

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