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Operations Manager (NO-A)


United Nations University – UNU-WIDER





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United Nations University (UNU)

UNU is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU's work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals' full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

About United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

UNU-WIDER is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system.

UNU-WIDER is a leading international development economics think tank. The Institute provides economic analysis and policy advice with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development for all. The Institute began operations in 1985 in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today, it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency — providing a range of services from policy advice to governments, as well as freely available original research. More information on UNU-WIDER and its current work programme are available at www.wider.unu.edu.


Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Chief Operations Officer, Operations Manager is accountable for service provision, transactions, and advice to internal clients for a variety of operational tasks and services, covering procurement, travel, finance, asset management and general administration.

The Operations Manager works in close collaboration with personnel of UNU-WIDER, UNU Centre and other UN agencies to ensure the effective delivery of client-oriented services for UNU-WIDER offices.

The incumbent establishes internal processes, interprets, and applies UNU policies, procedures, and guidelines, provides solutions to a wide spectrum of complex operational issues, and where necessary monitors compliance with the UNU Policies and UN Financial Regulations and Rules as appropriate.

1. Ensures agreed service levels in Procurement, Travel, Administration, and Finance teams through appropriate leadership, supervisory, planning, development, coordination, implementation, and monitoring actions:

  • In consultation with the supervisor, WIDER management team, Operations team, and UNU Centre Administration, responsible for the overall planning, implementation and monitoring of the Procurement, Travel, Administration, and Finance team’s work plan;
  • Develops, monitors the team’s key performance indicators (KPI), performance goals;
  • Manages, supervises, coaches and mentors the team members, provides regular feedback and guidance; and
  • Backstops team members during absences or peak workloads.

2. Oversee procurement processes in accordance with policies and procedures focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Lead the provision of procurement services, including the tendering process and evaluation, contract management and administration, vendor management and appraisal; coordinate the annual procurement plan; handle procurement reporting and statistics; and
  • Provide guidance to procurement personnel at all stages of the procurement cycle, ensuring full compliance to the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, UN Procurement Manual and related instructions.

3. Ensure effective travel management focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Provide advice to UNU-WIDER personnel on the application of travel policies and processes;
  • Ensure that travel policies and guidelines are regularly updated and effectively communicated to UNU-WIDER personnel;
  • Prepare travel reports, identify trends and recommend improvements for cost savings and efficiency; and
  • Review and submit the annual DSA survey data for Finland.

4. Deliver finance services focusing on achievement of these results:

  • Record and monitor donor contributions;
  • Oversee financial reporting and analysis for funds contributed by donors;
  • Audit focal point for UNU-WIDER focused audits, and follow-up on the implementation of audit recommendations;
  • Act as Approving Officer to validate financial transactions in the ERP system ;
  • Handle cash management, including cash security at the office premises; and
  • Oversee and review team members’ work such as journal creation, utility services payments, regular payment requests and recording of contributions.

5. Manage office administration focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Handle the day-to-day operational tasks for UNU-WIDER, which includes office space and facilities maintenance; document management; travel; procurement; asset management and general administration;
  • Participate in UNU meetings and working groups on operational matters, ensuring that UNU-WIDER’s interests are reflected in UN and UNU common system activities;
  • Oversee the asset life cycle management, from the procurement, utilization and disposal of assets for UNU-WIDER; and
  • Ensure UNU-WIDER assets are managed in compliance with the property management policies and guidelines.

6. Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor

Key Performance Indicators

  • Quality and level of engagement with internal clients
  • Timely and compliant provision of procurement services
  • Timely, efficient and compliant travel services
  • Timely and compliant provision of finance services
  • Timely, efficient and compliant administrative support and services
  • Timely, organized and compliant asset management



  • Inclusion - Take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity.
  • Integrity - Act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards.
  • Humility - Demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others.
  • Humanity - Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.


  • Connect and Collaborate - Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and Plan - Seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  • Deliver Results with Positive Impact - Hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  • Learn and Develop - Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and Innovate - Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Required Qualifications and Experience

  • Master's degree in business administration, procurement and supply chain management or related disciplines. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • At least two years of relevant working experience in procurement or operations management, preferably in an international environment;
  • Experience with United Nations procurement policies and practices is desirable but not a prerequisite;
  • Experience in handling of web-based management and ERP systems;
  • Experience with Microsoft Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel);
  • Strong analytical skills, meticulous attention to detail, process oriented;
  • Proven ability to handle sensitive and confidential information;
  • Proven interpersonal skills, ability to work in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; Autonomous, service and result oriented, self-motivated and “hands-on”, with the ability to prioritize work and multi-task.

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in English
  • Knowledge of Finnish or another UN official working language is an asset.


UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. For more information please see: https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SAL

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance.

For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Starting date

As soon as possible.


How to Apply:

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Apply via the apply link;
  • fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form); and
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position.

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.



Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks, and references.

Special notice

This is a locally recruited position and no relocation expenses or allowance apply. The position is limited to persons who have the Finnish nationality.

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector's authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.


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