Grade: P2  

Vacancy no.: JPO/ENTERPRISES/P2/2022/01
Publication date: 19 April 2022
Application deadline (midnight Geneva time): 17 May 2022


Job ID: 8002 
Department: ENTERPRISES 
Organization Unit: SME 
Location: Geneva   
Contract type: Junior Professional Officer 

Contract duration: 12 months, renewable up to 36 months 



This post is opened in the context of the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) scheme sponsored by the Government of Norway and is addressed exclusively to People with a Norwegian nationality only. 

Note. The position is based in Geneva, Switzerland. A relocation to a field duty station in the third year of the assignment will be encouraged and supported. For the fourth year of the assignment, opportunities for cost-sharing may be explored on an equal basis (first six months by Norway and last six months by ILO).


The ILO values diversity among its staff. We welcome applications from qualified women and men, including those with disabilities. The ILO has a smoke-free environment.



The Enterprises Department of the ILO headquarters promotes sustainable enterprises. Within this Department, the SME unit seeks to unlock the potential of creating more and better jobs in small businesses – a sector which provides the bulk of all employment. The unit works with governments, social partners, the private sector as well as other relevant stakeholders and partners on fostering entrepreneurship and productivity in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, through improving the enabling environment and the inclusivity of markets. An important work stream of the unit relates to fostering the formalization of enterprises, which in turn contributes to the development of sustainable enterprises that create decent jobs for women and men. Informality entails many challenges for enterprises and workers. They face the risk of business closure, have limited or no access to formal financial services, social security benefits, skills development opportunities or other benefits which are open to formal enterprises. Women in the informal sector are often very vulnerable, facing precarious and unsafe working conditions. They also lack access to social security, with little or no protection under labour laws. The demand from constituents for support in this area is growing steadily. The COVID-19 pandemic has put the issue of informality under the spotlight. Many self-employed workers, informal enterprises and the workers they employ do not receive support from their government, due to their informal status. Yet they are often strongly affected by the pandemic while they lack savings and financial buffers to weather the crisis.


The ILO aims to support constituents to help informal entrepreneurs address gender-related and other barriers that hamper their growth, sustainability and resilience against crises, as can be seen in this video. The SME unit also supports the shift to environmental sustainability with decent work, which is closely related to addressing informality.


Enterprise formalization is thus an important strategy. It contributes to the ILO Decent Work Agenda through private sector development, gender equality and environmental sustainability:  
– Operating in the formal economy can make these businesses more resilient. 
– Enterprises must be formal and comply with the law in order to create formal jobs with decent working conditions.
– In LDCs, women are highly represented in the informal sector and need support to address barriers for their development and growth. Women in the informal sector often face more challenges than men in terms of poverty, access to finance and power imbalances. Women entrepreneurship development and formalization can help to address imbalances while empowering women to overcome them;
– There is a virtuous cycle between low productivity and informality, which the SME unit aims to tackle through initiatives on formalization and productivity development.  
– Women and men in the informal sector are often more affected by environmental issues and lack resources to overcome them. The ILO aims to facilitate a double transition by facilitating environmental sustainability with transitions to formality.

The incumbent’s work would help advance the reduction of informality and vulnerabilities in the informal sector, along with the pilot-testing of business resilience and enterprise formalization measures. The JPO will also provide support on following up on already developed concept notes as well as the contribution to the development of further concept notes for potential Development Cooperation. The work of the JPO will directly contribute to achieving ILO’s programme and budget (P&B) outcome on sustainable enterprises, specifically the P&B output on enterprise formalization. 

Background information


ILO Programme of work and results framework: 

o    Output 4.3  

•    Relevant documents related to informality, COVID-19 and formalization of small economic units and the workers they employ:
o    Dedicated website on enterprise formalization
o    Good practices from Cabo Verde
o    COVID-19 crisis and the informal economy: Immediate responses and policy challenges
o    Answering key questions around informality in MSEs during the COVID-19 crisis
o    Rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on enterprises and workers in the informal economy in developing and emerging countries
o    Video on informality and COVID-19
o    Enterprise Formalization Brochure 
o    A double transition: formalization and the shift to environmental sustainability with decent work 

Training Components and Learning Elements


Training components:

Through guidance of the supervisor and senior colleagues the JPO will get trained in preparing policy papers, concept notes and work plans, conducting policy-oriented research and implementation of projects.


Learning elements:

•    Become familiar with the mandate and functions of ILO, its tripartite structure and governing organs (International Labour Conference and Governing Body);
•    Learn about the opportunities and challenges regarding the future of work, global supply chains and decent work;
•    Gain experience on the promotion of decent work in specific supply chains; 
•    Gain experience on policy oriented research, including the future of work;
•    Gain experience in consensus building through facilitation of dialogue and negotiations; and
•    Get acquainted with the work of a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.

The JPO position includes a training allowance (DTTA) of $ 4.000 per year which may be used for learning activities related to the assignment and career development.

Content and methodology of supervision



Direct Supervisor: Specialist Enterprise Formalization


Content and methodology of supervision:

The Junior Professional Officer will work in the SME unit under direct supervision of the Enterprise Formalization Specialist. He/she will directly contribute to further developing ILO’s work related to enterprise formalization.


A time-bound work plan will be agreed between the JPO and the supervisor upon appointment. The supervision will involve regular bi-weekly meetings between the JPO and the supervisor to discuss progress and give detailed instructions and guidance as necessary. The JPO will also collaborate with colleagues in the SME team as well as field offices, projects and other ILO units in Headquarters. Work will be discussed with, and reviewed by the supervisor at various stages before completion in order to ensure learning and quality control.


The JPO will accompany and assist the supervisor in webinars and meetings and will have access to online courses provided by the ITC-ILO. The JPO will also support backstopping of development cooperation projects. Apart from these on the job training opportunities, staff development measures will be available and the supervisor will encourage the JPO to make use of these opportunities.


Performance management will be reviewed in accordance with ILO’s Performance Management Framework, as applicable to Junior Professional Officers.




Duties and Responsabilities


Under the direct supervision of the supervisor, the JPO is expected to be actively involved in the development and pilot testing of activities to reduce vulnerabilities in the informal sector and facilitate transitions to formality of small economic units and the workers they employ. 


The incumbent will perform the following duties and responsibilities:

•    Familiarize him/herself with available diagnostic reports on informality (including specific target groups such as refugees and host communities and persons/economic units affected by the COVID-19 pandemic).
•    Assist with literature review, analysis and implementation of diagnostics on the legal, policy and institutional environment and the characteristics and perceptions of informal operators and the workers they employ and how this relates to private sector development, environmental sustainability and decent work for women and men.
•    Assist in providing capacity building support to ILO constituents in the implementation of measures to reduce informality and support the transition to formality of informal enterprises.
•    Contribute to the collection, analysis, documentation and dissemination of good practices, case studies and other relevant knowledge management tools, which includes knowledge on effective ways to support environmental sustainability and decent work for women and men.
•    Contribute to the development of training and sensitization tools on informality in micro and small enterprises.
•    Assist in the formulation, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development cooperation programmes/projects.
•    Assist in the organization of meetings, workshops and seminars in relation to reducing informality in micro and small enterprises.
•    Support the development and dissemination of communication materials in the relevant subject areas.
•    Identify and document innovative practices on enterprise formalization in relation to digitization, green jobs, gender issues, access to finance, and/or the role of member-based organisations.
•    Perform others task that may be assigned by the supervisor.



An advanced university degree (equivalent to Master degree) in Economics, Business Administration, Political Science, International Development or other relevant social science discipline.    

Work experience


Minimum:  2 years to maximum 4 years of professional experience in a relevant field at the national or international level, preferably in development economics or small enterprise development.


Desirable:  Work experience in informality or enterprise formalization.


All paid work experience since obtaining Bachelors degree will/can be considered.  Only paid internship is considered.



Minimum:   Excellent command of English, both verbal and written. 

Desirable:  Good knowledge of Spanish or French would be an asset.

Skills required for the assignment


Minimum: Strong analytical and research skills in industrial policy, economics, business and human rights, or other relevant fields; Good skills in the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods; Good computer skills.


Desirable: Good knowledge of the issues concerning decent work, global supply chains, responsible business conduct in specific sectors and the future of work would be an asset.

ILO Competencies


The candidate is expected to demonstrate and be guided by ILO competencies, specifically:


1. Good communication skills, both written and verbal.
2. Capacity to work on own initiative as well as cooperate as a team member.
3. The ability to work in a multicultural environment, and gender-sensitive behaviour and attitudes are also required.

Conditions of employment

For general information on conditions of employment, please visit:


Recruitment process

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application form. To apply, please visit ILO JOBS. The system provides instructions for online application procedures.


Interviews for shortlisted candidates will tentatively take place during the 2 to 3 months following the application deadline. Candidates are requested to ensure their availability should they be short listed for further consideration.



Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


Fraud warning

The ILO does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process whether at the application, interview, processing or training stage. Messages originating from a non ILO e-mail account – – should be disregarded. In addition, the ILO does not require or need to know any information relating to the bank account details of applicants.

Categories: NGO Jobs