General information on recruitment in the World Trade Organization

1.    Scope and purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO) back to top

The WTO has as its main function the administration of a number of multilateral trade agreements, the objectives of which are to reduce existing trade barriers and to expand international trade and economic development, growing emphasis being placed on trade as an essential factor in the development of less-developed countries. Trade in goods, trade in services and trade related intellectual property and investment, trade and environment questions, trade in agricultural goods are some of the issues the Secretariat is dealing with. The WTO conducts examinations of members' trade policies, and economic research in support of its activities. It administers a dispute settlement mechanism for trade conflicts.

2.    Advertisement of vacant posts and applications back to top

Applications are equally welcome from women and men; a person wishing to apply for a post should be a national of a WTO member state and be under 65 years old. As the organization is a relatively small one, the turnover of staff is accordingly limited. The vacancies which do occur are the subject of open competition and advertised by means of vacancy notices, the distribution of which is made to all of the official representatives of the governments participating in the WTO and they are posted on this website. They are also occasionally advertised in the press.

Applications received after the application deadline will not be considered. Candidates whose qualifications are less than those required, will also not be considered. Upon receipt, applications for a specific vacancy are forwarded to the Division concerned for evaluation and selection of candidates. Selected candidates may then be invited to Geneva for an interview, which will normally be supplemented by a written test.

After approval of the selection by the Director General, an offer of appointment is sent to the selected candidate. The selection and appointment process can last several months.

3.    Required qualifications for professional posts back to top

The organization is serviced by a small Secretariat, the professional staff of which consist primarily of economists and lawyers specialized in international trade policy. A person wishing to apply for such a position in the Secretariat should possess a post-graduate university degree in economics, international relations or law, with an emphasis on trade issues. The academic qualifications should be supplemented by at least five years of experience with a national government or with an international organization or other organizations or enterprises dealing with issues of trade policy and international trade relations.

4.    Official languages back to top

English, French and Spanish are the official languages, and staff are expected to be able to work in at least two of these. Knowledge of French is also desirable as the language of the Geneva area, which is the sole location of the WTO.

5.    General duties of professional staff back to top

For the professional staff the general duties, in addition to any particular functions of an advertised position, consist of preparation of reports, research and analysis, both economic and legal, servicing of meetings, and working with delegations of member states. Drafting skills are particularly important.

6.    WTO Compensation Package back to top

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7.    Internships and traineeships back to top

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8.    Other staff back to top

Occasional needs arise for expertise in activities such as administration, information technology and translation and professionals in these areas need to have an advanced degree in a specialization, such as human resources management, information science, translation, etc.