Financial Sector Lead

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)
    New York, USA
    UTC -4

    About United Nations University

    For the past four decades, United Nations University (UNU) has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 SDGs, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

    United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR)

    United Nations University Centre for Policy Research in New York is an independent think tank within the United Nations system. The Centre combines research excellence with deep knowledge of the multilateral system to generate innovative solutions to current and future global public policy challenges.

    The Centre comprises social and data scientists and UN practitioners. It has a successful track record of international multi-stakeholder partnerships, and has launched pioneering work in several thematic areas, including modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and child labour (Sustainable Development Goals Target 8.7). For more information on UNU-CPR and its work, please visit

    The FAST Inititative

    The FAST initiative was launched in mid-2018 as a public-private partnership in response to calls from the G7, the G20 and the United Nations General Assembly to mobilise the private sector in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. In under two years, the initiative has already had substantial impact, having trained thousands of financial sector professionals in more than 130 countries, mobilised institutional investors with more than USD 8 trillion assets under management to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking, developed risk analysis tools for the sector, and provided input into a range of multilateral and regulatory policy processes. It has also organised a coalition of banks and survivor support organisations to provide survivors with improved access to financial services.

    Owing to the generous support of FAST donors, the project has been extended by a further three years and is successfully poised for growth.

    The position

    The UNU Centre for Policy Research is looking for a committed and enterprising financial sector workstream lead to oversee the project’s outreach and engagement with the financial sector entities ranging from banks, investors, to audit firms. This is a newly created position as part of this growing project.

    This workstream is aimed at mobilising, convening, supporting, educating, and partnering with financial sector actors to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. It is focused on identifying tools and practices that can shift business as usual approaches and, importantly, induce greater interest and cooperation to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking by clarifying risks and emphasising opportunities in industry practices and processes. This workstream will broaden the community of FAST partners and catalyse interaction amongst existing and new partners in the financial sector.

    Over the next three years (2021-2023), the financial sector workstream lead will work closely with the FAST Project Director and two other workstream leads to implement a programme of work that aligns with donor expectations and ambitions. The Financial Sector Lead will be responsible for shaping activities to meet the workstream objective to support efforts in the financial sector to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking risk in business activities and processes.

    About you

    You are an experienced finance professional with a thorough understanding of the identification and management of modern slavery risks – including human trafficking and forced labour. You are familiar with sustainable finance initiatives and environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in banking, lending and investment practices, as well as compliance and regulatory regimes, financial technology, and international cooperation in the areas of business and human rights. You value and are also familiar with research related to these themes and are keen to be part of a team that is able to leverage the transformative potential of this policy agenda.

    Your experience working in the financial sector includes collaboration across the public and private sectors with a variety of stakeholders across countries with differing areas of expertise. Your relationship-building and people skills enable you to work collaboratively with others. You have a proven track record of managing ESG or CSR initiatives that influence practice and decision-making, including at senior level. You thrive in innovative and purpose-oriented settings and are committed to diversity, equality, and building a workplace that values excellence, empathy, and individual growth equally.

    You are proactive and motivated by the prospect of collaborating with the rich constellation of public and private partnerships developed by the UNU Centre for Policy Research to be part of a bold and impactful programme of work that will extend the capacity of financial institutions, governments and other key stakeholders to reduce the prevalence of modern slavery.

    Responsibilities and deliverables

    The Financial Sector Lead will report to the FAST Project Director and will be expected to:

    • lead the FAST programme of work related to the financial sector, building on existing initiatives and ensuring future activities align with donor priorities
    • collaborate with other members of the FAST project team, including the Workstream Leads for the Government Sector and Vulnerable Populations, to leverage insights relevant to the investment and banking sectors
    • plan and implement collective learning activities for financial actors focused on risk, due diligence, supply chains, leverage, insurance, auditing, among others
    • produce and disseminate targeted insights for financial sector actors to support embedding anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking approaches in financial sector practice
    • design and execute trainings on modern slavery and human trafficking risks for bank, institutional investor, auditors, insurance, and stock exchange personnel
    • co-develop screening, compliance and risk analysis tools for the financial sector to address modern slavery risks
    • develop and deliver authoritative evidenced-based policy reports, recommendations, editorials, and other publications that advance FAST objectives
    • participate in meetings and conferences that support FAST outreach, coalition-building and the dissemination of findings, including an annual implementation review conference
    • perform other duties as required by the FAST Project Director

    Required qualifications and experience

    • advanced university degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to, business administration, finance, political science, international relations, human rights and public policy
    • minimum of five years (seven preferable) of relevant work experience, ideally including relevant leadership experience
    • demonstrable experience promoting ESG and CSR initiatives within financial institutions
    • expert knowledge of issues in the areas of sustainable finance, business and human rights, modern slavery, human trafficking, child labour, and forced labour
    • excellent analytical and conceptual thinking skills
    • exceptional interpersonal and problem-solving skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender parity
    • superior English-language oral and written communication skills; knowledge of another official UN language(s) is desirable
    • familiarity with statistics, data analysis, and research methodologies is advantageous

    UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation.

    UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

    Remuneration and entitlements

    Remuneration will be between USD 90,000 – USD 110,000, per annum based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience.

    Annual leave entitlement of 2.5 days/month (30 days/year) and some limited benefits, including health care, are included.

    Duration of contract

    The successful candidate shall work under an initial 1-year Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory performance and external funding.

    The successful candidate will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.


    New York-based, with possibility of starting remotely.

    Starting date

    1 August 2021 or sooner.

  • Interested applicants should submit their application and all required documents listed below online through Impactpool by 16 May 2021 and include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae
    • full contact information of three (3) references
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2021/UNU/CPR/PSA/FSL/FAST/35)