Social Protection Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)



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East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) Region

The EAP region comprises more than 20 countries and is highly diverse in terms of country size and income level. Despite unprecedented economic growth and poverty reduction, EAP still faces significant development challenges.

The economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath has had significant impacts on economic activity, livelihoods, and welfare in EAP. As a result, poverty is expected to have risen for the first time in over four decades. However, the pandemic presents opportunities for countries in the region to “build back better” through recovery strategies that prioritize reforms, institutions strengthening, as well as attention to climate, resilience and broader sustainability. For further information, see:  

Social Protection & Jobs (SPJ) Global Practice in the Pacific

 PNG and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) face unique developmental challenges. They are characterized by smallness in size, extreme remoteness, geographic dispersion, and a high vulnerability to natural disasters. This vulnerability was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the World Bank provided support to protect the physical and economic wellbeing of Pacific Islanders.

The SPJ Pacific portfolio includes six operations on skills and employability, early childhood development (ECD), productive inclusion and labour mobility. The team also manages large analytical and advisory work programs on social protection delivery systems, adaptive social protection, gender and labour markets and mobility.

We are looking to hire a Social Protection and Jobs Specialist to be based in Sydney. The selected candidate will be an integral member of the team covering the Pacific, report to the SPJ Practice Manager for EAP, based in Bangkok. The role will involve frequent interaction with government counterparts, other donor agencies, and counterparts within and across the World Bank, both in EAP and in other regions.

Duties and responsibilities

The SPJ Specialist will contribute to the work program on social protection and jobs in the Pacific Islands, and the broader EAP Region where necessary. The primary role of the specialist will be engaging in policy dialogue, analytical work, and lending operations on social protection and labor mobility programs. The successful candidate would be a member of analytical and project task teams in these areas. S/he will be expected to work in teams and independently on analytical and operational tasks, leading some tasks as required.

More specifically, the responsibilities will include the following:

• Deliver analytical work, technical assistance, lending, and partnerships for social protection, adaptive social protection and labor mobility. 
• Lead tasks in Pacific Islands and PNG, engage in policy dialogue, support project preparation and implementation, conduct impact evaluations, curate knowledge, and promote evidence-based recommendations. 
• Coordinate with global practices, external agencies, and strengthen program delivery. Contribute to the global knowledge base and participate in global solutions groups for social protection and jobs.

Selection Criteria

• Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, or relevant field with 5+ years of experience.
• Demonstrated knowledge and experience in working on small island economies, preferably including PNG and/or PICs.
• Strong analytical skills (quantitative and qualitative) with the ability to conduct policy-relevant research and propose practical solutions.
• Experience and/or knowledge in social protection, labor mobility and related fields with practical application of concepts and research.
• Proven track record in supporting or managing research activities on social protection in developing countries.
• Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills to work in a team and intercultural environment with minimal supervision. Ability to communicate ideas effectively under pressure, contributing to knowledge briefs, policy notes, and presentations for high-level audiences.

Additional Requirements:
• Familiarity with East Asia and Pacific region and relevant Bank policies on social protection and jobs.
• Australian citizenship, permanent residence, or suitable work permit.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

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