The WTO Secretariat employs over 600 staff from around 80 WTO member countries. Staff roles include dispute settlement lawyers, legal officers, trade policy analysts and specialists, research economists and statisticians, who help to ensure that trade negotiations progress smoothly and that the rules of international trade are correctly implemented. Other roles include press officers, translators and interpreters, professionals in finance, IT, HR, etc. who support the mission of the WTO.
Dispute settlement lawyers
Dispute settlement lawyers contribute to the dispute settlement process of the WTO by assisting a panel established for a dispute or the Appellate Body members considering an appeal. Their role is to deliver substantive legal advice and to conduct research on legal, technical or procedural issues in dispute settlement or appellate proceedings.
Requirements: An advanced university degree in law (including international trade law and public international law), knowledge of international, legal and economic principles and issues, adjudicative process and practice, a high level of legal drafting skills, analytical and problem-solving skills and presentation skills, as well as the ability to work as part of a multicultural team.
Trade policy analysts/specialists and legal/economic affairs officers
Trade policy analysts/specialists and legal/economic affairs officers work in various divisions of the WTO Secretariat. In addition to providing specialist advice in their respective divisions, they provide support to bodies serviced by WTO divisions (e.g. committees, working parties, negotiating groups, etc.) and contribute to trade policy review mechanisms established at the WTO. They also conduct research and analysis and deliver technical assistance and training on relevant topics.
Requirements: An advanced university degree in international relations, economics, law or a relevant field, knowledge of relevant WTO agreements and the WTO system, a high level of drafting skills, research and analytical skills, presentation skills as well as the ability to work as part of a multicultural team.
Research economists undertake research on policy-related topics in connection with the WTO’s activities. More specifically, they take a lead role in preparing the WTO's flagship publication, the World Trade Report, produce other analytical reports and provide economic expertise to other parts of the Secretariat as required. They also deliver technical assistance and training on the relevant topics.
Requirements: An advanced university degree, preferably a Ph.D., knowledge of international trade and other branches of economics, analytical skills, policy-oriented research skills, high level of drafting skills and presentation skills, ability to work as part of a multicultural team.
Statisticians provide quantitative information on economic and trade policy issues. They collect and organize trade-related data, maintain the relevant WTO databases, and undertake data analysis and dissemination. The output of WTO statisticians is made available to the relevant WTO committees and is utilised in trade policy reviews and in other areas of research.
Requirements: An advanced university degree or equivalent in a quantitative subject such as mathematics, statistics or economics, knowledge of statistical concepts, good IT skills of use for statistical analysis and database/information management, ability to work as part of a multicultural team.
Human resources professionals
Human resources (HR) professionals strive to attract new talent to the WTO, to provide a high-quality service to staff members, to ensure a competitive compensation and benefits package, to support staff through various learning and career development opportunities and to support the performance management cycle. They work closely with staff and managers to better align staff with organizational needs.
Requirements: An advanced university degree or equivalent in a relevant field (e.g. organization psychology, organization development, business administration, social science, etc.), knowledge of various HR fields and latest practices, professional work experience, analytical skills, drafting skills, communications skills and ability to work in a diverse work environment as part of a team.
Finance professionals are responsible for financial planning and budgeting, payroll, financial reporting, treasury and trust fund management etc. They work in collaboration with, and advise, various divisions as well as WTO member countries to ensure that the Organization is sufficiently supported in achieving its objectives.
Requirements: An advanced university degree in accounting or a related field with a financial orientation, or a combination of a basic university degree with qualification as an accountant or with professional certification in the appropriate discipline, advanced accounting/financial management skills, good business intelligence application skills and advanced analytical skills.
Translators and interpreters
To make information available in the WTO's three working languages - English, French and Spanish - the Language Service at the WTO translates approximately 48 million words (96,000 pages) a year and provides interpretation services for nearly 3,600 sessions per annum. To accomplish these tasks, it relies on translators/revisers, translation support specialists and interpreters.
For translators: A university degree (or equivalent professional qualification), preferably in languages, economics or law, a post-graduate degree in translation would be an advantage, ability to translate specialized texts dealing with a wide variety of subjects quickly, accurately and in an appropriate style, good knowledge of international trade, economic and legal affairs, familiarity with computer-assisted translation tools.
For interpreters: A university degree (or equivalent professional qualification) in languages, linguistics, economics, law or another relevant field, post-graduate degree or recognised professional qualification in interpretation, good interpersonal and communication skills, ability to work in a team.
Press officers and communication officers at the WTO provide factual information on WTO activities through various channels, with the aim of explaining the WTO's activities in an understandable way to various audiences. They monitor media coverage of trade issues and establish channels of communication with journalists, civil society, parliamentarians and other stakeholders.
Requirements: An advanced university degree in journalism or a relevant subject area and relevant professional work experience, as well as highly developed communication skills, drafting skills and familiarity with a range of media tools.
Information management professionals
Information management professionals at the WTO organize and make accessible information resources through cataloguing, providing reference services and applying international standards as appropriate. They ensure that the documents and information produced by the WTO are stored in a structured manner, in areas such as Records Management, the Library, Online Documents, the Registry or Archival Systems.
Requirements: An advanced university degree in information management/library science, or a basic university degree plus a qualification in this field recognized by a professional body that is equivalent to an advanced university degree, excellent command and use of IT (Information Technology) tools relevant to information organization and retrieval (e.g. search engines), excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
IT professionals deliver IT solutions in partnership with other client divisions to fulfil the mandate of the WTO. From providing IT services on equipment and networks to partnering with divisions to explore specific solutions, their work touches on every aspect of the WTO's activities.
Requirements: A basic university degree in computer science, theoretical knowledge and/or proven professional expertise equivalent to an advanced university degree in a relevant area, ability to work in a team and coordinate cross-functional teams towards task completion, good communication skills.
Administrative assistants are responsible for developing and implementing office procedures to ensure the efficient and effective running of divisions, address administrative challenges and ensure that administrative procedures are applied correctly. They ensure the provision of office management and administrative/secretarial assistance to the Director of the division, provide administrative support to divisional staff, bodies and activities relating to the work of the division, as well as coordinate and supervise the work of secretaries.
Requirements: Completion of secondary education, secretarial/office management qualifications desirable, proficiency in MS suite of applications (or equivalent) at advanced level,understanding of and expertise in administrative procedures, including staff rules and regulations, excellent multi-tasking and communication skills as well as the ability to work effectively in a multicultural environment.
Secretaries/Office Assistants provide a range of secretarial support to respective divisions. They assist in the preparation of documents and logistical arrangements for meetings, events or technical assistance activities, as well as organize and manage the filing and correspondence as appropriate.
Requirements: Completion of secondary education, secretarial/office management qualifications desirable, proficiency in MS suite of applications (or equivalent), familiarity with formatting and editing documents, organizational skills, attention to detail and ability to work under pressure and as part of a team.
The functions outlined above are only generic descriptions. For specific job descriptions and requirements for a position, please refer to the vacancy notices published on the WTO e-Recruitment site.