Senior Economist – Field Operations, P4, Nairobi At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Protection Officer (RSD) at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

Framed by the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and UNHCR¿s mission to find solutions to refugee situations, strengthened cooperation with development and private sector partners is essential. The increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons in protracted displacement situations, together with the increasing scale of irregular migration, large-scale refugee movements, and costs of responding to humanitarian situations, have placed forced displacement high on the global agenda. These elements have further driven the realization that humanitarian support must be complemented by development and private sector actors to lift displaced populations out of poverty, enable solutions, and encourage an area-based approach to poverty reduction.

Within UNHCR, the Division of Resilience and Solutions (DRS) was formed to address these challenges, in part by broadening strategic partnerships with key actors in these areas, including importantly the World Bank and other multilateral development banks and in so doing aligning approaches by Government(s). To support investments by development actors in area-based approaches including both forcibly displaced and their hosts, requires better data and standardized information about refugees and host community households, particularly in relation to their socio-economic status or multidimensional poverty status. Accurate data on welfare conditions is also needed by UNHCR and partners for programs including cash, livelihoods, and education programming, welfare targeting and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, comparable information on both refugees and host community members is a pre-requisite for measuring changes in welfare required to inform medium-term programming with development partners and national governments. DRS together with the World Bank Poverty Global Practice supported by the UNHCR World Bank Joint Data Center manage the partnership and play the global coordination role for the institution in working with National Statistics Offices to include forcibly displaced into National Poverty Assessments.

The Senior Economist is the designated focal point for providing economic analysis and strategic support on behalf of DRS in support of the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) objectives 1 and 2- Ease the pressures on host countries and Enhance refugee self-reliance. Concretely, the Senior Economist will provide key input regarding the indicators measuring the success of the Global Compact for Refugees and particularly the proportion of refugees living below the national poverty line in the host country. Depending on where the Senior Economist is based, the reporting lines will differ. If based in Headquarters it will map to the DRS Partnership Analytics Research and Knowledge Management (PARK) section. If based in a country or multi-country office, the incumbent will report to either the Representative or Deputy Representative Programme, or in some cases Head of Sub-Office or Senior Operations Officer. In all cases, functional supervision and guidance, including technical functional clearance of candidates and technical oversight of economics products, is provided by DRS PARK. The Senior Economist will work closely with Programme and Protection colleagues, the Global Data Service and DIMAs, in addition to Senior Management, in the operation as well as Bureaux and technical unit key external stakeholders and development agencies, including the World Bank, government agencies, national statistical agencies, and other operational partners.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


Strategy & coordination

  • Provide strategic vision and lead engagement with senior management, internal business units and external partners for the design and implementation of research and analytical products generated from comparable socio-economic data.
  • Provide guidance/recommendations on obstacles and possible improvements to UNHCR¿s programming, ensuring effective links and coordination with Field Operations and stakeholders at Headquarters through the preparation and use of available economic statistics, industrial surveys and other available data.
  • Provide strategic vision for UNHCR comparable socio-economic data agenda and lead the overall coordination with the relevant World Bank teams and Joint Data Center and associated workstream.
  • Provide guidance and input to the annual programme planning and review process to support the development and approval of sound operational plans and the effective allocation and use of resources for livelihoods, energy, environment, food security, solutions, health, shelter and water/sanitation.
  • Ensure good communication and coordination among members of the country team, Governments, researchers and partners, serving as a link between these parties.
  • Lead drafting and writing of presentations, analytical reports, research and policy briefs.
  • Participate in official missions and deliver capacity building and training activities for partners and governments.
  • Identify research opportunities and contribute to proposals for research partnerships and funding.

Data Collection and Analysis

  • Provide oversight, vision and guidance for the collection of raw primary and secondary datasets into final datasets to be used for analysis, as needed.
  • Supervise cleaning of all datasets and creation of necessary indicators for measuring livelihoods and other socio-economic indicators, impact and related. Work with the research team to design a thorough plan for data analysis including production of descriptive statistics and regression analysis for various outputs such as briefs, presentations and academic papers.
  • Lead the preparation of research papers including formatting and creating tables, graphs, and related analysis.

Project Management

  • Lead the design and implementation of assessments and other data-driven products related to the socio-economic welfare of refugees, forcibly displaced persons and host communities, wherever possible through coordination with the National Bureau of Statistics and World Bank Country Economist in inclusion of forcibly displaced into National Poverty Assessment.
  • Successfully manage all partnerships and activities in the collection of comparable socio-economic (poverty) data on forcibly displaced
  • Contribute to defining and promoting a vision for the use of socio-economic data, particularly in planning, programming and advocacy at the country, regional and headquarters levels.
  • Maintain a strong understanding of the state of literature on poverty analysis for forcibly displaced.
  • Manage data collection activities, as appropriate. This may take place at all stages of data collection (preparation, survey design, sampling, onsite data collection oversight and supervision and quality assurance, data analysis and report writing).
  • Conduct data analysis using econometric programs (R, Stata).
  • Guide colleagues and operations on factors influencing efficiency and effectiveness of programming.
  • Represent UNHCR in negotiations and meetings relating to data and monitoring impact of programming.
  • Clear documents and reports coming out of DRS/Country Operations.

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In addition to the responsibilities outlined At HQ the tasks include

  • Provide the strategic vision for the global technical team and oversee budget and staffing decisions
  • Provide technical assistance to UNHCR Country Offices and Regional Bureaus on the collection, analysis and operationalization of socioeconomic data for programming, planning and advocacy purposes. A more intensive focus is anticipated in a limited number of countries and may include travel to these areas.
  • Provide technical assistance to UNHCR Regional Bureaux/Country Offices on the design and implementation of socioeconomic assessments (SEAs). Provide remote assistance, generally to Livelihoods Officers, including review of survey concept notes, outlines and methodologies, as needed.
  • Manage and contribute to development of survey modules on forced displacement (may be attached to national surveys), skills, social cohesion and/or education, among other topics.
  • Facilitate coordination, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and experience between UNHCR and development actors and across UNHCR operations globally by documenting and disseminating good practices.
  • Manage and contribute to analytical work to facilitate the transition of forcibly displaced into national social safety net and social protection programming.
  • Lead and contribute to other studies and analytical activities that build the conceptual framework and evidence base for comprehensive, development-oriented responses to forced displacement.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
*Economics or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses
Not specified.
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience

At least 7 years of relevant professional experience in economics, analysing data and conducting research. Familiarity with processes of the World Bank, the African Development Bank or other international financial institutions, bilateral development agencies or research institutions. Demonstrated skills and experience with measuring welfare through socio-economic profiling. Excellent conceptual and analytical capability and track record in developing tools/methodologies to ensure informed and responsible decision making. Ability to manage and supervise teams. Ability to think creatively, and to explore, harness and translate innovative concepts into practice. Capable of multi-tasking and managing several programmes/projects at the same time.

Experience of working with the private sector. Experience working in applied development economics. Experience in poverty modelling. Experience leading primary data collection effort and data analysis. Experience of working with synergies between the humanitarian-development nexus. Good relevant publication record in economic journals is desirable.

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit the UNHCR career page at – click on the Vacancies tab and enter job ID 34194.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing Date

Please note that the closing date for positions advertised in the Addendum 4 to September 2021 Compendium is Monday 14 March 2022 (midnight Geneva time).


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