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The Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice (SPJ GP) is seeking an Extended Term Consultant for the Pacific Islands and PNG program to be based in Sydney.
The World Bank’s Sydney office, part of the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Region, covers operations in 11 Pacific member countries: The Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. These countries represent some of the world’s smallest economies, many of which are extremely isolated from economic centers. The countries covered by this office range in land area from 183 sq km to 463,000 sq km, in population from 12,000 to 6.5 million, in per capita GNI from US$1,100 per annum to over US$6,000. Pacific countries are socially and culturally diverse and face unique development challenges owing to their economic geography, which include limited formal job opportunities and high youth unemployment. Some are fragile and emerging from recent conflict. Most Pacific Island countries (PICs) have narrow production bases, some are rich in natural resources, and nearly all are highly vulnerable to external shocks. In recent times, the cumulative effects of the food, fuel and global financial crises – and in some cases natural disasters – have hit these economies hard, exposing vulnerabilities and severely impacting the poor.
The Bank’s engagement in these countries has been expanding rapidly in recent years, including a strong analytical work program on labor mobility, as well as non-lending technical assistance and lending operations on social protection led by SPJ GP. The engagement has included both sending countries in the Pacific and Australia and New Zealand as key receiving countries of seasonal and long-term migrants. The labor mobility program is strongly supported by grant funding from the Government of Australia which allows for a long-term engagement. On social protection the systems of PICs and PNG are historically under-developed, with the notable exception of Fiji, and the World Bank has been engaging with selected countries on developing their policies and delivery platforms for cash transfers, in recent years in Tonga, Fiji and Marshall Islands. On the lending side, the SPJ work program has included a mix of investment projects (skills, employment, cash transfers, early childhood development) and development policy financing.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the portfolio of the SPJ GP has expanded significantly to provide analytical and advisory services, technical assistance and lending operations aimed at helping Pacific island economies mitigate and recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic. SPJ’s ASA work program has evolved to include studies on impacts of the crisis on domestic labor markets and employment opportunities overseas. The SPJ portfolio now also includes engagements aimed at supporting PICs safeguard the livelihoods of the unemployed and other vulnerable groups.
The selected candidate will be an integral member of the team covering the Pacific, and of the SPJ GP team for the East Asia and Pacific Region. The position will report to the SPJ Practice Manager for EAP, also based in Sydney, and work under the daily management of a labour mobility cluster leader within the SPJ team and also located in Australia. The position will also involve frequent interaction with government counterparts, other donor agencies, and counterparts within the World Bank, both in EAP and in other regions.
The SPJ Specialist (or depending on the applicant’s qualifications, Economist) will primarily be a core member of a team implementing a major analytical and advisory work program on labor mobility in the Pacific and the broader EAP region if required. As a secondary function, they may also be asked to contribute to the social protection policy and analytical engagement in the Pacific Islands. In addition to the analytical and advisory program, the successful candidate would be a key member of teams implementing lending operations in PICs in the areas of labor mobility, workforce development, and social protection. S/he will form part of a small team working on the Pacific, and may be required to manage consultants based in Australia and across the Pacific.
More specifically, the responsibilities will include the following:
• As a primary area of work and responsibility, engage on issues related to labour mobility and labour market/jobs engagements more broadly, including operational engagements, analytical and diagnostic work, policy dialogue with various countries and counterparts, DPs, researchers and others. As a secondary responsibility, contribute to tasks on social protection and the link between social protection and disaster risk/response.
• Contribute to and/or manage preparation and implementation support for projects, including both projects with a social protection focus and with a labor mobility/jobs and skills development focus
• Support and as necessary lead analytical work focused on the impacts of COVID-19 and on policy responses.
• Participate in the design and implementation of impact evaluations and other policy, program, socio-economic, and institutional assessments where necessary.
• Curate knowledge and global best practice to the needs of government counterparts and specific country context.
• Play an active role in the implementation of dissemination strategies to promote policy uptake of evidence-based recommendations.
• Liaise across the World Bank’s Global Practices and external agencies to support coordination on joint analytical activities and efforts to strengthen program delivery.
• Contribute to the global knowledge base of the Social Protection and Jobs GP and play an active role in the Labor Global Solutions Group.
The successful applicant for the position will meet the following qualifications:
• At least a Master’s degree in economics, relevant social science, or related field with at least 5 years of work experience.
• Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in working on small island economies preferred, and prior experience working in and on developing countries essential.
• Demonstrated ability to work as part of a small team, and to manage consultants where necessary.
• Good analytical skills and proven ability to conduct independent policy-relevant research, translate theory into practical applications, and adapt professional knowledge and technical skills to analyze, diagnose and propose solutions to policy issues and challenges.
• Experience in advisory work or operations and/or supporting or managing research activities.
• Experience with labor market analysis in developing countries and/or with labor mobility/migration.
• Experience working on social protection and disaster risk management issues in developing countries is desirable.
• Demonstrated skills in effective knowledge transfer and capacity building.
• Strong engagement skills with counterparts; client focused with an ability to provide prompt and high-quality responses.
• Very good interpersonal skills, with proven ability to work in a team and intercultural environment, with minimal supervision.
• Ability to manage complex tasks involving working across distance, overseeing teams, and ensuring timely delivery to achieve results. Above all, common sense and ability to move work ahead in challenging environments.
• Very good communication skills in English, both written and oral.
• Experience working across institutional units/divisions in a collaborative way, delivering cross-support and building relationships around a common goal.
• Demonstrated ability to capture knowledge for institutional learning and communicate main messages in knowledge briefs and policy notes, as well as power point presentations for high level audiences.
• Familiarity with the broader East Asia and Pacific region and Bank policies and practices related to social protection and jobs issues is preferred.
The qualified candidate will meet the following core competencies:
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena
Understands policy making process and the role of own sector of expertise in that process. Able to find relevant information/data and examine similar policy questions in multiple regions and to distil operationally relevant recommendations/lessons from this analysis for clients.
• Policy Dialogue Skills
Identifies and assesses policy issues and communicates findings/points of view verbally and through reports and papers. Plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders as part of Bank teams.
• Labor Mobility and Social Protection Knowledge and Experience
Has strong operational and/or analytical skills. Has experience working with economic and institutional issues related to labor mobility and social protection sufficient to contribute to the evaluation, design, and/or implementation of programs.
• Integrative Skills
Is working to develop a broader view across all facets of current sector. Understands core issues and knows where to get additional expertise when needed. Task team member in integrative products and provides analytical written inputs.
• Deliver Results for Clients
Develops and implements solutions that show understanding of how clients and/or own work achieves results that are financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. Shares new insights based on in-depth understanding of the client and recommends solutions for current and future needs of clients. Holds self accountable for risk management and outcomes.
• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries
Collaborates across organizational boundaries, internally and externally with a sense of mutuality and respect. Consistently engages others in open dialogue, brings out any conflicting viewpoints and incorporates viewpoints into solutions, giving credit where credit is due. Leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes. Makes choices and sets priorities with a WBG corporate perspective in mind.
• Lead and Innovate
Encourages and works with others to identify, incubate and implement relevant solutions. Identifies opportunities in changing circumstances and energizes others to continuously improve, using intentional strategies to boost morale, team spirit, and productivity in context of WBG’s values and mission. Helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context.
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge
Ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners. Seeks mentoring opportunities with more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge and mentors junior staff. Builds networks across the WBG and as part of external professional groups/networks.
• Make Smart Decisions
Applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG’s strategy. Evaluates risk and anticipates the short and long-term implications of decisions. Commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached.
Note: The selected candidate will be offered a one-year appointment, renewable for an additional one year, at the discretion of the World Bank Group, and subject to a lifetime maximum ET Appointment of two years. If an ET appointment ends before a full year, it is considered as a full year toward the lifetime maximum. Former and current ET staff who have completed all or any portion of their second-year ET appointment are not eligible for future ET appointments.
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