How do I apply for a job at the ICRC?
If you are interested in job openings at our headquarters in Geneva or international assignments, go to our job portal. Search using keywords and/or filters to narrow down the list of current job openings and follow the instructions.
If you are interested in local job openings in the country where you live, please go to the webpage of your country on our website and scroll down to the Job Opportunities section (e.g. Where we work > Iraq).
Please note that we do not consider or reply to unsolicited applications.
Do I have the right profile?
The ICRC recruits professionals from a very wide range of backgrounds. Our staff include everyone from humanitarian aid workers, interpreters and engineers to surgeons, agronomists and bomb disposal experts. Please refer to our job openings to check specific requirements in terms of training, experience and language skills. You can also download our Working for the ICRC booklet to find out more.
What kind of qualification do I need?
For the majority of our jobs, including entry-level mobile field staff (known as generalist delegates), a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) is required. A master's degree is not always compulsory, but may be considered an asset for certain positions. Generally speaking, practical work experience is more relevant than extensive studies at university.
Other requirements may be set for specialist jobs. Please refer to the vacancy notice.
What do “mobile staff” (Geneva-based contract) and “resident staff” (local contract) mean?
We have two main kinds of staff: resident and mobile. Resident staff are hired locally to work in a particular position in a particular area in a particular country, whereas mobile staff are hired by headquarters and rotate to work in different countries every few years. If mobile staff work at headquarters, they're known as mobile headquarters staff; if they're based in the more than 80 countries in which we operate, they're known as mobile field staff.
Please note that mobile staff cannot be assigned to a country of which they are nationals.
How much experience do I need?
For our mobile entry-level positions, we require at least two years' post-graduate experience. This requirement may be higher for some specialist positions, such as engineers, logisticians or medical workers. Greater professional experience may be required for senior positions.
Please note that internships may count towards the professional experience required, depending on what they involve and providing they last at least six months.
What kind of international experience do I need?
It depends. Mobile field staff work in challenging, multicultural environments, so you need to have some international experience to show that you can adapt to and work in such conditions. Any professional experience abroad counts, but experience in a country whose culture is different to that of your home country is particularly sought after. Non-professional, long-term stays in a foreign country are considered an asset.
Please note that our recruiters evaluate applications as a whole. To succeed, you'll need the right combination of motivation, professional and personal experience, and language and soft skills.
What language skills do I need? How will I be tested?
English and French are the official languages of the ICRC. Most of our field offices, known as "delegations", are English-speaking, but a third are in French-speaking countries. A very good knowledge of both languages is, therefore, highly recommended and sometimes required. Exceptions may be made for some specific jobs.
Furthermore, applicants are more likely to be selected and sent abroad if they also have other world languages such as Arabic, Russian and Spanish or important local languages such as Hausa, Kinyarwanda and Pashto.
We do not ask for specific qualifications to prove your language skills; they will be tested during the recruitment process. To pass, your level should be at least B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
Why do I need a manual transmission driving licence?
The ICRC works in volatile countries where there may be security concerns. You may need to drive a car with a manual gearbox to evacuate in an emergency. Therefore, you have to provide a valid manual transmission driving licence, and you may be asked to physically prove you can drive.
What are the steps in the recruitment process?
Recruitment for mobile field positions usually follows this order:
- Screening – We select candidates for interview.
- Interviews – Candidates have a general interview with a recruiter and/or a technical interview with experts for specialist positions.
- Language tests – We test candidates' language skills.
- Technical tests (optional)
- Soft skills assessment (optional) – We test some candidates' soft skills at our assessment centre in Geneva (applies mainly to generalist delegates and finance & administration managers).
Interviews can be done either at our headquarters in Geneva or via Skype/phone, depending on where you are based. Candidates are expected to cover their own recruitment-related expenses. (However, expenses for travel to the assessment centre in Geneva are covered up to a certain amount.)
How long does the recruitment process take?
The whole process can take up to six months.
Within two months, you will be informed by email whether or not your application has been short-listed.
If you are hired as a mobile staff member, the date of your first field assignment will depend on the actual position, our operational needs and when you are available.
Can I apply again if I am not successful?
If you were not short-listed, it probably means that you do not match our requirements. If you later improve your language skills, gain more work experience and meet our criteria, you are welcome to apply again.
However, we recommend you do not reapply for at least six months. This is because, generally speaking, we don't think that any significant change can occur in a CV before then.
Can I be hired by my National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society for assignments with the ICRC?
Yes, there are two ways you can work for the ICRC. You can work for us directly, or, if we have an agreement with your National Society and your profile is of interest, we may wish to share your file with them. Find out more here.
These National Societies may then offer you a contract under their domestic labour law and send you on secondment to the ICRC (known as "staff on loan") for an assignment abroad. While filling in your profile on our job portal, we will be asked to opt in or out for a consideration by your National Society (if relevant). If you opt out, your file will be dealt with by the ICRC directly.
In either case, opting in or out is not a final commitment on whether you work for the ICRC or your National Society. You will be given more information during the recruitment process, so you can make up your mind what's best for you then.
Why do I need to get medical clearance before going on assignment?
Our mobile staff are often posted to remote areas where health-care services may be limited. To minimize the risk of medical issues arising while you're in the field, you must get medical clearance before you go. For more information, please see our medical standards.
Can I take my partner or family on assignment?
Sometimes, yes, but because we work in countries affected by war or other violence, it is not always possible.
In any case, you will not be able to take your family or partner with you for your first two assignments, which will each last around 12 months. Assignments where you can't take your family or partner with you are known as "unaccompanied assignments".
After that, you may be sent to a country where you can take your family or partner. These assignments are known as "unrestricted assignments" or "family postings". Please note, though, that this is not guaranteed and will depend on what your position is and where you are assigned to.
How often can I take time off?
Our staff work in challenging, stressful environments. We know how important it is that they take time off to rest and see their families. That is why we cover most travel costs for staff to go home or on holiday, e.g. plane tickets. We give home leave on average every three months and provide for additional leave in particularly demanding situations. Whether you are eligible for additional leave or benefits will depend on the difficulty and duration of your assignment, your family life and your seniority within the ICRC.
What benefits does the ICRC offer?
On top of a competitive salary, we offer generous benefits, such as excellent health insurance cover and accommodation while on assignment. (Please note that you may have to pay income tax in your home country.)
There is an integration course at the beginning of your contract to help you find your feet, and we provide many opportunities for you to develop professionally in management and specialized fields.
Our mobile field staff get six weeks' holiday a year. But we offer additional leave outside your country of assignment if the security and living conditions are particularly demanding.
What are the living conditions like in the field?
As a mobile staff member in the field, you will be housed in ICRC accommodation. This means you will usually have your own room but share a kitchen and bathroom with your colleagues.
Even though we make every effort to ensure that our staff have comfortable living arrangements, standards will vary by location. Electricity and internet access, for instance, may be limited in some places.
Will the ICRC provide any support for my family while I’m on assignment?
If you're on an unrestricted assignment after your first 24 months with us, we'll provide you and your family with accommodation and pay towards your family's health insurance and school fees. We'll also help you with visa procedures and other formalities to do with moving abroad.
Will I be safe?
We take our staff's safety very seriously. We are constantly monitoring the situation and adapting our security rules – by having curfews, restricting the use of public transport, etc. We expect every staff member to abide by our security rules and ensure others do so as well.
Another vital aspect of our staff's safety is the ICRC's reputation as a neutral and impartial organization, which allows us to work in areas where we might otherwise be unwelcome. We therefore ask our staff not to make any public political statements that could harm how our organization is perceived, and which would undermine our work.
Can I choose my assignment?
Not at first. When you join the ICRC, you must be prepared to go wherever your skills are most needed. With time, you will be given more say in your assignment and advice on how to develop your career.
How does the ICRC promote diversity and inclusion?
The ICRC is more diverse than it has ever been, with staff from over 140 countries. We are convinced that this diversity makes us better at what we do: it enables us to form close relationships with wide-ranging communities and develop the best solutions for the people we work with. We make a conscious effort to have diverse teams, particularly in terms of gender (women make up almost half our mobile staff), nationality and language abilities.
Do you have positions I could apply for at your headquarters?
We currently have about 1,000 staff members working at our headquarters in Geneva. Some are senior and middle managers who have previously worked in the field. Although we try to fill headquarters positions with current staff, occasionally we can't. In such cases, we invite external candidates to apply via our website. There are also support staff, such as assistants, administrators, IT specialists, purchasers and translators, who are mostly hired locally.
Do you offer psychological support to staff?
For many years now, we have provided psychological support to staff working in volatile and stressful places. In addition, all mobile field staff have a medical check-up and briefing before leaving and a medical debriefing on their return, both of which address psychological stress related to the nature of our work.
We have also brought in a policy to reduce the impact of stressful working conditions in the field.
Can I volunteer or donate?
The ICRC does not take on volunteers, but we encourage you to contact your country's National Society for opportunities to volunteer for them. You may also be interested in volunteering for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
And we of course welcome donations of any size. They really do make a difference.
Can I do an internship / traineeship at the ICRC?
Every year, we offer 70 to 80 traineeships at our headquarters in Geneva. We look for graduates in a wide range of fields, from humanitarian law to communications or fundraising. The majority of our traineeships are paid, full-time positions between 6 and 12 months long. All available positions are posted on www.icrc.org/en/traineeships, and we encourage you to check back regularly.