Senior Specialist, Employers' Activities

International Labour Organization

Pretoria, South Africa

The position is located in and reports to the Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP) but is also an integral member of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team (DWT) that provides ILO technical support and guidance to a particular geographical area.

ACT/EMP consists of a Bureau at ILO headquarters and a network of Senior Specialists in Employers Activities in each of the DWTs in the different regions. Its principal work is to manage the relationship between the ILO and Employers, Business and Membership Organizations (EBMOs), and the wider business community so that there is mutual understanding, shared values, and a desire to work together. This is done in close cooperation with the Secretariat of the Employers' Group of the ILO. Additionally, through its programme of development cooperation, the Bureau seeks to strengthen employer and business representative organizations so that they become more strong, independent and representative, and can increase their value to their members and potential members. This work also enhances social dialogue in the countries concerned.

The position is senior level and the incumbent is expected to manage technical activities focusing on high-level technical and policy advisory services and advocacy of new strategies, policies, approaches, and programs within their area of specialization. The incumbent is expected to achieve objectives that are set by the ILO Governing Body (GB) concerning the strategic management of the programme. The incumbent will work with a high level of autonomy and take authoritative technical decisions independently whilst being accountable for the efficient management of funds.

The Senior Specialist, Employers Activities will act as an interface between the ILO, EBMOs, and the employer community in the region and develop and maintain good working relations with them. More particularly, the incumbent will help employer and business membership representative organizations meet the needs of enterprises more effectively. Finally, the Senior Specialist, Employers Activities will articulate the views of employers within the ILO so that their priorities and concerns are reflected in the design and implementation of ILO policies and programmes, and also communicate ILO policies and programmes to the wider employer and business community.

The position will report to the Director of ACT/EMP. She/he will work under the guidance of and with the support from the assigned regional Desk Officer for day-to-day activities.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain productive working relations with the constituents at all levels. These relations are critical to the discharging of the Specialist's duties and delivery of the ILO's objectives.
  • Design and implement the ILO's entire programme of work with each EBMO within his or her jurisdiction, irrespective of the source of funds or other units involved. This entails following procedures laid down by ACT/EMP and the ILO as a whole within a results-based management framework that contains needs analysis, work planning, reporting, and evaluation.
  • Provide advice, organize training courses, conduct or oversee research, produce publications, organize workshops, seminars, conferences, study missions or other related activities, to assist EBMOs in developing and promoting policy proposals for economic and social development, with the aim of achieving a better business environment for the development of sustainable enterprises.
  • Provide technical assistance and advice to help improve the managerial capacity and operational effectiveness of EBMOs, through the use of organizational analysis, capacity assessments and development, and human resources development aiming to strengthen independence, representativeness and effectiveness of EBMOs.
  • Support the design, creation and implementation of quality and high-impact services that EBMOs provide to their member enterprises.
  • Seek and secure additional donor funding for projects.
  • Draw up a work plan every two years, in dialogue with each EBMO concerned and based on a needs assessment set out in a background note, outlining the proposed cooperation with each organisation, taking account of the budget allocation available. Finalize the work plan in dialogue with an allocated regional Desk Officer at ILO headquarters and ACT/EMP management.
  • Implement the agreed work plan and review and report on progress via a quarterly monitoring exercise. Undertake wider reporting including through assessment of the impact of the programme including information on cases where difficulties have been encountered and lessons learned from both successful as well as problematic cases.
  • Assess performance against the agreed work plan and result targets set as indicated above.
  • Participate in the work of the DWT and field offices through meetings and missions to convey and promote employers' perspectives in the formulation of the DWT and field offices' policies and programmes and wider UN initiatives. Take part in national and regional tripartite activities on given themes and provide technical support to representatives of employer organizations.
  • Give input to ACT/EMP on technical issues requested from ILO headquarters, and collaborate with other colleagues of the team in matters of common interest.
  • Perform other relevant duties as assigned by ACT/EMP management.

Required qualifications


  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in economics, business administration, law, social science or other relevant field.
  • A first-level university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) in one of the aforementioned fields, or other relevant fields, with an additional two years of relevant experience, in addition to the experience stated below, will be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


  • At least ten years of professional experience, including at the international level, with at least five years of experience in senior management positions in employers’ organizations or other business organizations, and/or comparable experience in development cooperation management functions with practical experience of working with Employers and Business Membership Organizations.


  • Excellent command of English. A working knowledge of French would be an advantage.