2023 ICSC Global Staff Survey

The 2023 ICSC Global Staff Survey is a questionnaire for all active UN Common System staff members regardless of grade or category (GS / NPO / FS / IP / Ungraded) to share their thoughts on the current compensation system. It is a follow-up to a similar survey from 2019, and designed to be comparable in order to see what has changed. (You can see the results of the 2019 survey from paragraph 53 onwards on the ICSC Annual Report for 2021.)

As with a similar survey in 2013 and 2019, it would be the intention to use the survey results to guide the ICSC and GA in making adjustments to your salary and benefits. Your answers will therefore impact your overall pay. 

The survey is handled by an external company called Agenda Consulting to ensure nobody will know how you personally answered.

The ICSC estimates that the survey will take 10 to 15 minutes to fill out, and you can do it in parts if you need to - simply ensure you save your work in progress and do not click on Submit until you have finalized all parts. You can also change your answers before you submit it. If you are unsure of any questions, do not hesitate to contact your staff representatives in the local Staff Association / Staff Union that you belong to.

For any more details or questions, you can check both the ICSC FAQ document that comes with the survey, the FICSA FAQ document compiled from FICSA members below, and a short FICSA presentation on the survey below.

FICSA provided detailed commentary and guidance in Comms 11/19 for the 2019 Survey that is still relevant for the 2023 survey. 

It is important to ensure that staff knows and understand how some the answer to some of the questions can be perceived or utilized, so that they can be fully informed while completing the survey.

Some important points quoted from the Comms 11/19: 

  • These statements link essentially to the same point. The stronger your agreement with these statements, the more likely that your compensation might be perceived as being overly generous, and the greater the likelihood that it could be cut again.
  • These statements link essentially to the same point. The stronger your disagreement with these statements, the more likely that your compensation might be perceived as too complicated, and the more likely that efforts could be made to simplify it and, in the process, cut it.
  • Please indicate the most important factors in your decision to accept your first offer of employment in a UN Common System organization.
  • If you do not include “salaries” and “allowances” among your selection, it is more likely that these might not be seen as important, and the more likely the chance they could be cut.
  • What are the main reasons that you intend to be working in your organization in 12 months’ time? 
  • If you do not include “salaries” and “allowances” among your selection, it is more likely that these might not be seen as important as retention tools, and the more likely that they could be cut.
  • Non-awareness by staff of a particular benefit has been used in the past as a reason to eliminate it. Even if you don’t receive a particular benefit at present, you may do in the future. It therefore helps to be aware of each benefit.

Excerpt of the FICSA Communications 23/23

We would like to take this opportunity to remind / inform you of the following:

  • In March 2023, the ICSC initiated a Comprehensive Review of the Common System Compensation Package (UN staff salaries, allowances, and benefits). The first step in the long process of the Comprehensive Review is the ICSC Survey, similar to those carried out by ICSC during the last Comprehensive Review (previous Surveys in 2014 and 2019). This year, the Survey has been adjusted to accommodate the UN General Assembly resolution (A/RES/77/256 A-B) which, “Requests the Commission [ICSC] to conduct a system-wide survey to assess factors affecting workforce retention and to submit the results and analysis of the survey to the General Assembly at its seventy-ninth session”.
  • All three Staff Federations have provided input to the Survey, and all three have agreed to support staff participation in the Survey.
  • FICSA strongly encourages all UN staff to complete the ICSC Survey, because:
    • Data collected from the Survey will be a primary source of information to inform the upcoming Comprehensive Review and as such has major implications for our compensation package (our salaries, benefits, and allowances) in the future.
    • FICSA strongly encourages all staff to voice their opinion on their current compensation package and provide their candid input to ensure that the compensation package remains competitive and fit-for-purpose in the future.
    • In recent years UN Member States have been voicing their preoccupation with rising staff costs and have been calling to reduce current benefits and expand non-financial incentives for UN staff.
  • The Survey is open to ALL STAFF who hold an active contract with a UN entity. Both internationally recruited (P, D and FS), AND locally recruited (GS and NO/NPO) staff members on continuous, fixed-term or temporary appointments with or without a confirmed probation are eligible to complete the ICSC Survey.

It is imperative that the staff you represent understand the critical importance of completing the ICSC Survey and that they are informed about the possible impact of responses. As such, FICSA remains available to all our members to assist in this regard. We would therefore like to reiterate our offer to provide information sessions to either elected staff representatives or staff at large

Please contact the FICSA Secretariat to discuss your needs in this regard: ficsa(at)un.org. In the meantime, we strongly encourage to you to refer to the FAQs prepared by the ICSC on the Survey, as well as the most recent version of the ICSC Booklet on Salaries, Allowances and Benefits.

We leave you with some general recommendations to all when filling out the Survey:

DO – complete the Survey, ensure you are informed, ask your staff representatives or FICSA for support, write honestly, keep the objectives in mind, and take your time!

DON’T – make assumptions or compare benefits between categories of staff.




Disclaimer: This collection of resources is provided as-is by FICSA member staff associations, or with permission from the originating organization, as reference for other FICSA members in their Staff/Management relations and consultation. It should not be used as an authoritative source, and it may not be the most up-to-date. Please contact the organization directly or refer to the organization's website if you need the most recent version of the policy.

If you see any outdated or incorrect information, please inform the FICSA Secretariat so that it can be removed.