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Working for the ICRC: professional development and reorientation


ICRC policy on human resources, and information useful for future employees

Professional mobility


Professional mobility 

Ref. GE-N-00008-16 

The professional lives of ICRC international staff are generally played out abroad, in conflict situations and zones. They require great flexibility and the ability to bear up under severe physical and mental stress.

After several years of activity, staff needs and motivation change. Their personal lives change over time: they marry, have children, shoulder greater family responsibilities, etc. Those changes make it more complicated to accept an assignment in a conflict zone. It is at that point that many people decide to give fresh impetus to their professional lives and start on a process of professional reorientation.

 Providing staff with support  

In 1995, in order to help experienced staff wishing to give a new direction to their professional lives, the ICRC established a specific structure: the Career Advisory Service (SAR). Its role is to provide advice and support for professional development and reorientation.

The Career Advisory Service is a basic component of the ICRC's human resources management policy, whose aim is to develop staff members'skills and promote their external and internal employability.

The Career Advisory Service plays a key role in helping staff to:

  • maintain and develop their professional capacity;

  • facilitate their professional development;

  • promote their professional reorientation

The Career Advisory Service


The Career Advisory Service 

The Career Advisory Service (SAR) informs and counsels ICRC personnel on professional mobility and career development. It helps them to:

  • renew contact with local economic reality, in particular following a prolonged period spent abroad;

  • think about their professional development in the medium term;

  • identify the means required for that development;

  • get in touch with a network of former ICRC delegates and with employment and training professionals;

  • define a new career orientation.


 Promoting professional development  

The Career Advisory Service is the executive unit of a foundation created by the ICRC, the Avenir Foundation. The Foundation's aim is to attenuate the inevitable consequences of working for the ICRC. By means of the Capital Avenir , it finances services giving international staff the means of developing their careers in the medium and long terms.

The Career Advisory Service maintains contacts with the Swiss private sector and public administrations. It endeavours to enhan ce understanding of the skills and profiles of ICRC staff, which are often relatively unknown on the job market.


 Employment opportunities and roster of profiles  


On its extranet site, the Career Advisory Service proposes:

  • targeted employment opportunities, which are constantly updated, for those wishing to give a new direction to their careers;

  • a roster of profiles of staff members and former staff members, for interested companies and people .  

Successful career shifts


Successful career shifts 

The Service Avenir (SAR) follows the career shifts of former ICRC staff. Every two years the SAR conducts a survey among former staff members who have worked at the ICRC for at least two years and have left the organization in the course of the previous 24 months.

The results of the most recent survey, which was conducted in June 2003, demonstrate that ICRC experience is a decisive factor of success in staff members career shift. Moreover, the results show also that for 94% of the asked persons, ICRC experience is clearly an asset in seeking employment.


The 2003 survey indicates that staff members have found their new job quite rapidly, mostly (61%) within less tha n 6 month. 7% of them were still seeking employment at the time the survey.


 What becomes of the former ICRC staff members ?  

The results of the 2003 survey demonstrate that staff members: 

  • Start a career shift before the age of 44


  • Are paid workers (86%)

  • Hold management positions in their new professional life


  • Prefer to work in public sector (47%), especially in public administration (21%) and health (18%)


For further information, please contact the Service Avenir team, www.serviceavenir.net  

Looking for a specific profile? The services of the Career Advisory Service


Looking for a specific profile? The services of the Career Advisory Service 

Are you interested in the experience and skills acquired by those who work for the ICRC? Is your firm or organization looking to hire someone with a specific profile? Do you have a vacancy to fill? The Career Advisory Service can help.

Posting job opportunities

The Career Advisory Service's extranet has a section on which job opportunities can be posted free of charge. The section is regularly updated and is consulted by people who have reached a turning point in their professional lives or who wish to move in another career direction.

A roster of profiles

The Career Advisory Service has drawn up a roster of profiles on the basis of the curricula of ICRC staff or former staff who wish to change the direction of their professional lives.

If you are interested in these services, contact the Career Advisory Service.