Head of Support Services, Vienna, Austria At UNOPS – United Nations Office for Project Services

Closing date: Monday, 30 October 2023

Background Information – Job-specific

Austria Multi-Country Office (AUMCO)

The Austria Multi-Country Office (AUMCO) is part of the UNOPS Europe and Central Asia Region (ECR). AUMCO was established in 2019 and has seen significant growth over the past four years. Today, AUMCO covers twelve countries, with major presence in Uzbekistan and Albania, as well as offices and local presence in Georgia, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), Tajikistan, Turkiye, and Kyrgyzstan.

In addition, AUMCO manages the global Water and Energy Cluster (WEC) portfolio, which has a global presence and activities in 130+ partner countries, managing 80 UNOPS personnel. This also includes a substantial presence in Bonn (Germany) to assist particularly in cooperation with the UNFCCC.

AUMCO has a growing presence (approximately 50 staff and personnel) in Austria, with an increase of partnerships with Vienna-based UN and other international organizations, as well as the Government of Austria.

AUMCO aims to enable achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement through global programmes and tailored interventions in the Balkans, South Caucasus, and Central Asia, focused on:

  •  Infrastructure
  •  Procurement
  •  Project Management (full service, back on track)
  •  HR and Transactional Services
  •  Grants Management
  •  Technical and Advisory Services
  •  Project Information

Overall, AUMCO currently has an active engagement portfolio of USD 840M, managing over 320 staff and personnel contracts (including partner personnel).

About the Role

The Head of Support Services (HoSS) reports to the AUMCO Director, and provides direction, supervision and guidance to a team of specialists in the areas of Finance, HR, Procurement, ICT, Security and Administration, covering country offices, WEC programmes, as well as all aspects related to Vienna-based office operations.

The HoSS is a leadership role that is responsible for providing an efficient and integrated support service for the MCO and its portfolio, in consultation with the MCO Head of Programme (HoP), dealing on a daily basis with a diverse team of national and international professionals.

In addition, and given the complex nature of the financial advisory and oversight needs of AUMCO operations, spanning multi-partner fund management, grants dispersals, negotiations with Ministries of Finance and international financial institutions (IFIs) on sovereign loan fund management and implementation, the HoSS provides support and sophisticated oversight and engages in development financing conversations (especially in light of UNOPS costing policy changes) beyond regular MCO administrative, transactional and regular oversight roles.

The HoSS works with business units (BUs) to ensure the growth and oversight of AUMCO’s grants management services are strengthened to identify and manage risks, but also to ensure that AUMCO is fit for purpose to absorb and manage anticipated growth of its grants portfolio.

Furthermore, the HoSS works closely with the HoP and Project Management Office (PMO) to ensure that all aspects of AUMCO quality assurance and risk management are strengthened, effectively managed and monitored.

The HoSS plays a leading role on behalf of AUMCO in contributing to corporate and management priorities and helps introduce and manage the roll-out of reforms and changes across AUMCO.

The HoSS is required to undertake regular travel and visits to relevant office, project and partner locations and sites across the ECR/AUMCO region, including at times on short notice, for monitoring purposes, as well as to support relevant management and surge needs.

Functional Responsibilities

Summary of functions:

  •  Operational leadership, advisory and technical support
  •  Project planning and coordination support
  •  Procurement
  •  Financial and compliance management
  •  Human resource management
  •  Security, information technology and administration

1. Operational Leadership, Advisory and Technical support

  •  Supervise and oversee MCO operations and teams (finance, HR, procurement, HSSE, ICTs, administration, etc.) to ensure achievement of results, whilst driving compliance with corporate strategies, rules, regulations, policies, and standards of accountability, ethics and integrity.
  •  Monitor support services provision to ensure continuously improving client service and satisfaction, including liaising with appropriate RO/HQ units for required support.
  •  Contribute to the formulation of MCO strategies and procedures through advisory services to the MCO Director.
  •  Provide technical advice and operational guidance on innovative approaches to project financing, risk assessment/mitigation and use of financing structures, mechanisms, instruments and guarantees.
  •  Collaborate with the appropriate teams to identify the need, determine cost and plan all MCO support services, including procurement, finance, human resources, security, ICT and administrative services.
  •  Assist the MCO Director in setting goals, targets and performance standards for projects, and recommend tools for monitoring, evaluation and auditing.
  •  At the request of the MCO Director, participate in any UN forum discussions and planning to ensure UNOPS position, interests and priorities are fully considered.
  •  Lead on health, safety, security and environmental (HSSE) matters to ensure they are integrated into all aspects of the operations and that related risks are managed effectively.
  •  Create, foster and role model a culture of respect and zero tolerance for discrimination, abuse of authority , harassment , sexual harassment and exploitation and abuse. Ensure accountability for actions and perform duties in accordance with protection mechanisms and action plans, as expected by UNOPS policies, standards and commitments.
  •  Undertake regular travel and visits to relevant office, project and partner locations and sites across the ECR/AUMCO region, for monitoring purposes, as well as to support relevant management and surge needs.

2. Project Planning and Coordination Support

  •  Provide guidance and support to programme and project budget preparation, revisions and work planning.
  •  Provide input into project engagement and acceptance documents including assisting with contract negotiations.
  •  Provide advice on goal setting, targets and performance standards for projects and recommend tools for monitoring, evaluation and auditing.
  •  Monitor project financial projections, take decisions and/or refer critical issues to the MCO Director, HoP and/or other stakeholders for action.
  •  Provide advice on programme and project cost sharing, deployment of funds and closure.
  •  Constantly monitor and analyze the operating environment to identify potential risks and take action/refer critical issues for intervention to ensure delivery of results.
  •  Troubleshoot any issues that might cause interruption in the support services management.

3. Procurement

  •  Oversee and supervise MCO procurement processes, including tendering processes and evaluation and supplier selection, to ensure viable procurement solutions that meet operational needs and compliance with UNOPS procurement procedures, regulations and standard of accountability, ethics, integrity and performance.
  •  Evaluate contractual arrangements and legal commitments/risks for appropriate action.
  •  In consultation with relevant colleagues, review, administer and issue contracts, agreements/amendments with institutions and UN agencies.
  •  Support project teams in ensuring UNOPS procurement standards and processes are being followed, and logistics of goods and equipment on project sites to confirm delivery and safe warehousing.
  •  Evaluate, list, update and monitor the performance of the roster of service providers of suitable firms or institutions.

4. Financial and Compliance Management

  •  Prepare the MCO financial plan and manage the budget process/cycle to ensure timely revisions and reallocation of funds.
  •  Oversee the Finance Unit and ensure compliance with the UNOPS/Financial Rules & Regulations and Finance procedures.
  •  Monitor, track and control expenditure to ensure optimum and appropriate use of resources.
  •  Ensure the availability of required financial reports and exception reports including investigating anomalies to resolve problems, reporting or recommending any action required to relevant stakeholders.
  •  Supervise the timely review, posting and closure of accounts.
  •  Certify/verify accuracy and compliance with standards of accountability framework. Submit/prepare a mandated report on financial status.
  •  Supervise all financial services (accounting, cash management, payments etc.), ensuring timeliness and compliance with standards of accountability and performance.
  •  Monitor the Management Budget expenditures for the MCO and ensure that LMDC (Locally Managed Direct Cost) is properly recovered, billed and spent in accordance with the applicable procedures, in consultation with the MCO Director and HoP.
  •  Act as a focal point for any internal/external audit exercise.

5. Human Resource Management

  •  In consultation with the HoP, plan personnel required for MCO programmes/projects.
  •  Oversee all human resource services/processes including recruitment, salary administration and compensation, performance review, training and development, ensuring compliance with human resource rules, regulations, procedures and standards of performance and ensuring that hiring managers actively seek to create diverse teams in terms of gender and geography.
  •  Promote and support a learning culture by empowering individuals and teams to identify critical learning needs and plan/provide easy access to learning opportunities to maintain personnel competency and flexibility.
  •  Foster a positive work environment, respectful of both men and women, and ensure that the highest standards of conduct are observed.
  •  Exercise control of all staffing issues within the MCO as required by the projects’ demands including recruitment, training, staff performance review.

6. Security, Information Technology and Administration

  •  In close collaboration with HQ, support maintenance of a secure and reliable ICT environment, including adequate plans for disaster recovery.
  •  Manage the acquisition, maintenance, inventory, recording, verification and protection of project and administrative facilities/assets, including IT infrastructure, equipment and servers.
  •  Identify opportunities for leveraging the use of IT to enhance business operations and efficiency and to facilitate knowledge management, and information sharing.
  •  Manage the timely and efficient delivery of all administrative services, (e.g. premises, asset management, organizational and personnel security, travel and IT).

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  •  A Master’s Degree in a relevant related field is required.
  •  A combination of a Bachelor’s Degree with an additional two (2) years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the education requirements outlined above.


  •  A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience covering at least two of the following operations functions: Procurement, Finance, Logistics/ Asset Management and Human Resources is required. Knowledge of the other functions is desirable.
  •  A minimum of three (3) years of leadership experience, including a proven track record managing staff and operational systems is required.
  •  Some experience in UN system organizations, preferably in a developing country, and within the AUMCO sub-region, is desirable.
  •  Experience dealing with UN regulations, rules and policies in the areas of contracting, procurement and human resources is desirable.
  •  Experience in leading operations in hardship duty stations and/or in locations with a complex political crisis is highly desirable.


  •  Fluency in written and oral English is required.
  •  Knowledge of languages used in the countries covered by the MCO will be considered an asset.



Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

  •  Contract type: Staff Contract (FTA)
  •  Contract level: P5 /ICS 12
  •  Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link: https://www.unops.org/english/Opportunities/job-opportunities/what-we-offer/Pages/UN-Staff-Contracts.aspxAdditional Information

  •  Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  •  Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  •  Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  •  UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
  •  Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  •  We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process. If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.

Terms and Conditions

  •  For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post.
  •  For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (they take around 4 hours to complete) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS. For more information on a retainer contract here.
  •  All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  •  It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.


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