Social Protection Specialist Job Vacancy at ILO – South Africa

Full Time

Website ILO - South Africa

The International Labour Organization is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.

Social Protection Specialist Job Vacancy at ILO

Grade: P4

Vacancy no.: RAPS/3/2022/AF/02
Publication date: 25 October 2022
Application deadline (midnight Geneva time): 28 November 2022

Job ID: 10048
Department: RO-Africa
Organization Unit: DWT/CO-Pretoria
Location: Pretoria
Contract type: Fixed Term

The following are eligible to apply:

  • ILO Internal candidates in accordance with paragraphs 31 and 32 of Annex I of the ILO Staff Regulations.
  • External candidates.

Staff members with at least five years of continuous service with the Office are encouraged to apply.

Applications from officials who have reached their age of retirement as defined in Article 11.3 of the Staff Regulations on or before 31 December 2017, or who have already separated from ILO service upon retirement or early retirement, will not be considered.

The ILO values diversity among its staff and welcomes applications from qualified female candidates. We also encourage applicants with disabilities. If you are unable to complete our online application form due to a disability, please send an email to

The ILO welcomes applicants with experience in working within ILO constituents (governments, employers’ and business membership organizations, and workers’ organizations).

Applicants from non- or under-represented member States, or from those member States which staffing forecasts indicate will become non- or under-represented in the near future would be particularly welcome. A list of these countries can be found here: ILO Jobs: Non- and under-represented Member States

In addition to the interviews and tests that any candidate may be required to take, successful completion of the ILO Assessment Centre is required for all external candidates and any internal candidate applying to a higher category.

Notwithstanding the general considerations set out in the ILO Staff Regulations, this vacancy announcement is the only authoritative document pertaining to the qualifications required for this position. The minimum required qualifications were determined in view of the specific duties and responsibilities of this position.

The specific language requirements for this position are detailed hereunder. However, candidates applying for the professional category vacancies who have not already successfully completed their probationary period within the ILO and whose mother tongue is not one of the working languages of the Office (English, French and Spanish), shall be required to possess a fully satisfactory working knowledge of at least one of the ILO working languages. If appointed they may be required to acquire a knowledge of a second working language of the Office during their initial years of service.

Please note that in the context of the new ILO organigram, the naming of the departments may be subject to change.


The position is located in the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa and Country Office for South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini (DWT/CO Pretoria). DWT/CO-Pretoria covers 18 countries: South Africa, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Republic of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The DWT/CO-Pretoria provides high-quality, timely and integrated technical support to Country Offices under its geographical competence in the design, implementation and monitoring of Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) and United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCFs).

The Technical Specialist will have a lead role in promoting the inclusion of social protection priorities in DWCPs, UNSDCFs, National Development Plans and other planning documents and tools in the countries of coverage. S/he will provide policy advice and technical assistance on social protection to influence national policies aiming at ensuring that more people have access to better managed, comprehensive, more adequate and gender-equitable social protection benefits. S/he will actively promote and support, including in the framework of the ILO’s Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All, the implementation of regional and global frameworks, in particular, the Africa Regional Social Protection Strategy (2021-2025), the 2019 Abidjan Declaration “Advancing Social Justice: Shaping the future of work in Africa”, the 2021 Conclusions of the second Recurrent Discussions on social protection (social security) and its follow-up Plan of Action on Social Protection 2021-26, the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, and the UN Secretary- General’s Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Technical Specialist will report to the DWT/CO-Pretoria Director and will receive technical guidance and advice from the Director of the Social Protection Department (SOCPRO) at ILO headquarters. The incumbent will be part of the Global Technical Team on Social Protection and will work in close cooperation with other technical specialists and project staff in the DWT/CO-Pretoria and regional specialists on matters of a regional nature. S/he will collaborate with the ILO representatives in the region, technical counterparts in other regions and UN agencies at the country and regional levels.

Specific Duties

1.Provide high-level technical input and policy advisory services to ILO constituents, national social security institutions, planning commissions, regional institutions and other stakeholders towards the achievement of universal social protection. This includes promoting: social protection systems that are rights-based, gender-responsive and inclusive and that provide protection throughout the life cycle; investments in social protection; and the building of sustainably and equitably-financed social protection systems. This encompasses the design and implementation of social protection policies and strategies and Social Protection Floor (SPF) initiatives within comprehensive social protection systems that are consistent with ILO’s work at country level, responsive to the changing world of work, guided by the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) and other relevant ILO standards, and contribute to achieving relevant SDGs on social protection.
2.Provide support to ILO constituents in formulating COVID-19 recovery actions to ensure a human-centred recovery. This includes support in transforming temporary COVID-19 interventions into long-term and sustainable system-building measures.
3.Conduct, plan, develop and coordinate the implementation of sub-regional strategies and activities on social protection including on the extension of social protection through national social protection floors, in partnership with the African Union (AU), the Regional economic commissions of East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and regional bodies or associations, the Southern Africa Social Policy Experts Network (SASPEN), the East and Central Africa Social Security Association (ECASSA) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) regional hub.
4.Promote and support the implementation of ILO’s Africa Regional Social Protection Strategy, 2021-2025, with a strong focus on the informal and rural economy, efforts for formalization, and sustainable financing for social protection. Participate in the formulation of AU-ILO joint work plans and implementation of emerging regional and global initiatives and Calls to Action such as the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiative for a Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, and the Durban Call to Action on the Elimination of Child Labour.
5.Build and maintain close relationships with governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations. Initiate, foster and coordinate the development and implementation of joint partnerships and programmes with other UN agencies, development partners, international financing institutions, research institutions, private sector enterprises and foundations, members of networks, development banks and international NGOs, including members of the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B), the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (USP2030), and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) Thematic Working Groups for Social Protection, particularly in relation to the promotion and implementation of national social protection floors.
6.Support the development and implementation of national tailor-made and regional and sub-regional policies, programmes, strategies and initiatives establishing and implementing national social protection floors within progressively comprehensive social protection systems, taking into consideration rights-based and other approaches and coordination with other social, economic, and fiscal policies, as well as the priorities of the tripartite constituents in national dialogue.

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7.Provide expert advice, advocate and promote ILO social security standards, and in particular Convention No. 102 and Recommendation No. 202 among key stakeholders, including concerned governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and other target groups. Promote the ratification of ILO social security Conventions and support countries wishing to ratify the Conventions.

8.Promote and provide technical support and high-level advice on the integration of social protection policies and issues into national development frameworks, employment policies, DWCPs, UNSDCFs and related frameworks to respond to the defined needs of constituents. Provide inputs to the development of UNSDCFs and UN Common Country Analysis (CCAs) and act as social protection focal person/coordinator within the DWT/CO Pretoria for the development and review of country UN programme documents. As required, actively support/participate in UN activities, UN reforms and joint UN processes. Promote the development of approaches on the nexus between humanitarian aid and social protection in line with ILO standards.
9.Initiate, design, supervise and conduct relevant analytical and policy-oriented research on sub-regional and national social security programmes and policies that will serve as the basis for the formulation of relevant national social security strategies. Contribute to the development of the ILO’s knowledge base on social protection in the region. Advocate and promote national social protection floors within progressively comprehensive social protection systems. Identify capacity building needs of ILO constituents and partners design, plan and deliver appropriate capacity building activities. Develop and maintain a roster of social security experts/consultants.
10.Identify pivotal policy issues in the sub-region and contribute to the development of SOCPRO’s policy and country briefs, the World Social Protection Report and other flagship publications. Identify, review and document relevant information pertaining to initiatives extending social security, establishing and developing social security institutions, as well as regarding achievements and impact of social security systems targeting both formal and informal economy workers within the region.
11.Support the monitoring of social protection-related SDGs by building capacities of national and sub-regional stakeholders on SDG monitoring and facilitating the collection of social protection data for the ILO’s Social Security Inquiry and its World Social Protection Database. Provide inputs to Office reports on regional, sub-regional and national trends and issues in social protection.
12.Design country-level, sub-regional, inter-regional, bilateral or multilateral development cooperation projects, including those integrated in the ILO’s Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All. Liaise with donors and potential partners, including the private sector, with a view to securing development cooperation resources and expanding the Office’s capacity to undertake various activities in the field of social protection in the region covered by DWT/CO-Pretoria, and to achieve results and impact on people.
13.Guide and monitor the work of Chief Technical Advisors (CTAs) and project staff in line with established ILO guidelines. Support the design of country plans, country operations of global networks (e.g. business, workers, SPIAC-B, UN), monitor interventions, document results and impact at country-level, promote the use of the results and impact measurement tool across all development cooperation projects and contribute to sharing good practices.
14.Perform other relevant duties as assigned.
These specific duties are aligned with the relevant ILO generic job description, which includes the following generic duties:

Social Protection Specialist Job Vacancy at ILO – South Africa

Generic Duties

  1. Design and promote a wide range of special subject-matter-related programmes, This involves: re-analysis of complex or conflicting data, statistics and information or policy guidelines, in a manner requiring the advanced application of principles of a recognised technical specialisation.
  2. Develop and review an institutional framework, in which social partners can best improve, implement and evaluate efficient and equitable ILO action programmes.
  3. Provide policy advice to ILO’s constituents on institutional strengthening, the application of ILO standards and the promotion of development cooperation activities.
  4. Formulate and submit project proposals and seek funding.
  5. Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the project activities.
  6. Undertake technical advisory missions independently or in collaboration with other specialists.
  7. Conduct seminars, workshops and technical meetings and training courses.
  8. Prepare draft recommendations and guidelines for discussion and adoption as ILO Recommendations or Conventions on related technical fields.
  9. Write manuals and/or training guides on related topics.
  10. Disseminate information on programmes through publications and, press releases, as well as ensuring representation at donors’ meetings, international, regional and national fora and advocacy campaigns.
  11. Monitor and coordinate research carried out by junior technical officers and external collaborators.
  12. Provide technical inputs to office documents (sectoral meetings, technical committees, regional meetings and conference reports).
  13. Participate in tripartite reviews on development cooperation activities and international meetings and conferences.

Required qualifications


Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in one of the following fields: Economics, Actuarial Science, Law, Industrial Relations, International Relations, Policy Analysis or Development or management-related field, Social Science or other relevant field.

A first-level university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) in one of the afore-mentioned fields or other relevant field with an additional two years of relevant experience, in addition to the required experience stated below, will be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


At least seven years of experience, including at the international level, in dealing with social protection issues. Demonstrated experience in high-level policy development, technical and quantitative analysis skills, providing high-level advisory and capacity-building services as well as experience with matters that cross national boundaries. Experience working in a national social protection institution, agency/ministry would be an advantage. Experience in implementing/managing development cooperation projects and collaborating across UN and development partners would be an advantage. Knowledge of the Africa region is an advantage.


Excellent command of English is required. A working knowledge of a second official language (French or Spanish) of the Organization or Portuguese would be an advantage.


In addition to the ILO core competencies, this position requires:

Job specific competencies include: demonstrated knowledge of all branches of social security, both contributory and non-contributory programmes; the ability to: synthesize research and reach empirically based conclusions on related subjects; provide seasoned advice on best practices, to address broader issues outside the field of specialization; formulate new concepts and methodologies; develop training materials, alternative courses of action, project proposals, policy, procedural matters and present them at high-level meetings; design and synthesize strategies for programme development in member States; produce reports (e.g. reports for regional conferences and the International Labour Conference, technical publications, training manuals and draft resolutions) and evaluate and monitor development cooperation activities and projects. Ability to work in a multicultural environment and to demonstrate gender-sensitive and non-discriminatory behaviour and attitudes.

Conditions of employment

  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to ILO Staff Regulations and other relevant internal rules. Any offer of employment with the ILO is conditional upon certification by the ILO Medical Adviser that the person concerned is medically fit to perform the specific inherent requirements of the position offered. In order to confirm an offer from the ILO the successful candidate will be required to undergo a medical examination.
  • The first contract will be issued for a twenty-four month period.
  • A successful external candidate will be on probation for the first two years of assignment.
  • Any extension of contract beyond the probation period is subject to satisfactory conduct and performance.

For more information on conditions of employment, please visit the ILO Jobs International Recruitment page.

Important Information

Any officials of the General Service category interested in applying to this position are hereby informed that, if selected, they will be offered the salary and allowances applicable to the grade of the position applied for, which may result in substantial changes in their take-home remuneration. In accordance with Article 3.4 of the Staff Regulations, the salary of an official, upon promotion, shall in no case be greater than the maximum salary of the grade to which he or she was promoted. For any questions or clarifications, please contact your HR partner at

Recruitment process

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

Evaluation (which may include one or several written tests and a pre-interview competency-based assessment centre) and the interviews will tentatively take place during the 3 to 4 months following the application deadline. Candidates are requested to ensure their availability should they be short listed for further consideration.

Depending on the location and availability of candidates, assessors and interview panel members, the ILO may use communication technologies such as Skype, Video or teleconference, e-mail, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates at the different stages of the recruitment process, including assessment centres, technical tests or interviews.

The ILO has zero tolerance for acts of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and is determined to ensure that all staff members and all beneficiaries of ILO assistance do not suffer, directly or indirectly, from sexual exploitation and abuse.
To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organisation, the ILO may conduct a background verification of candidates under consideration.

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.


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