Senior Advisor Youth Employment and Markets - UK, NL, and various Mercy Corps field locations

Programs Edinburgh, United Kingdom London, London


Position Description

Location: The position can be based out of UK, Netherland,  Kenya, Nigeria or Jordan or other Mercy Corps Field office locations. 
Applicants must have the right to work or citizenship for one of the base location options at the time of application.

Position Status: open term, Full-time

Salary: MCE base salary: London: circa GBP 52,650;  Edinburgh: circa GBP45,000; NL: circa 52,000 euros, other locations to be benchmarked on local scales. 

Closing Date: apply with CV and Cover Letter before 15th September 2021 

Applicants must have the right to work or citizenship for one of the Mercy Corps base location options at the time of application. 

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary 

Mercy Corps alleviates poverty, suffering, and oppression and works to build secure, productive, and just communities in over 40 countries around the world. Our Program Department supports field-led work that delivers measurable impact. 

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject-matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide, in some of the world’s toughest places. TSU team members lead research, foster organizational learning, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global business development and revenue. Youth employment is increasingly recognised as a key area of focus of Mercy Corps, both via stand-alone programs and through close collaboration with other technical areas, such as agriculture and youth.

Mercy Corps’ youth employment work is at an exciting moment. It currently includes a portfolio of roughly 50 programs globally, and is focusing around two technical areas; (a) system change or MSD approaches to youth employment; and (b) engagement with ‘jobtech’ or digital solutions to employment. The Senior Advisor / Youth Employment & Markets is expected to support this momentum and a range of needs within the portfolio. 

General Position Summary 

The Senior Advisor position plays a key role in the development of Mercy Corps’ youth employment strategy, and provides technical support and capacity strengthening to Mercy Corps’ youth employment program teams. This role covers three areas of responsibility: (1) building on the existing foundations of the MSD4E (market systems development for employment) initiative to drive forward Mercy Corps’ work to embed MSD in its employment work (2) general technical support as needed to the youth employment portfolio, from program advisory services to assistance with proposal development or evaluation, and (3) drive Mercy Corps’ strategy to Thought Leadership & Influence and MEL of youth employment programs;

Essential Job Responsibilities 

Lead MSD4E Initiative 

  • Provide technical support to MSD4E portfolio programs, and support non-MSD4E portfolio programs to integrate an MSD4E approach and join the portfolio
  • Provide mentoring and training to Mercy Corps staff across the agency on MSD4E
  • Develop guidelines and tools to support implementation
  • Help to grow the MSD4E portfolio through support to country teams working on proposals and business development ideas
  • Position Mercy Corps as the lead implementer of MSD4E. Carry out targeted advocacy with key donors, develop case studies and provide a lead role in business development

Provide general support to Mercy Corps’ youth employment portfolio

  • Provide technical assistance to country programs on areas including program design, proposals, assessments, implementation, and evaluation
  • Provide training and support to programs around other challenges they face, from designing to implementing to measuring programs
  • Liaise closely with other TSU teams and Mercy Corps functions

MEL, Research, and Thought Leadership

  • Collate learnings, write pieces, and manage research projects led by the Youth Employment team
  • Lead the production of a monthly newsletter targeting key external stakeholders
  • Complement external Thought Leadership activities with managing an internal Community of Practice of Mercy Corps youth employment stakeholders
  • Support organizational and country-level MEL activities on youth employment

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Director - Youth Employment

Works Directly With: all other TSU teams, Research and Learning, other relevant HQ teams, and regional and country teams

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Knowledge and Experience 

  • 5+ years of experience providing increasingly proficient management or technical support in employment and market systems development, including:
    • Guiding programs on assessment, design and implementation
    • Working with public or private actors to develop sustainable business models to support target groups
    • Producing and publishing influential assessments, articles and blogs related to market systems approaches.
    • Leading proposal development processes.
    • Clear experience in the practical realities and challenges of facilitation activities
  • Experience working with MEL and demonstrating thought leadership including:
    • Production of high quality research and learning outputs
    • Development of, rollout, training and/or supervision of others using MEL tools
    • Thought leadership engagement with donors or other stakeholders in the MSD or youth employment space
  • Familiarity with major donors such as USAID, Sida, AFD and relevant foundations and corporations.
  • Experience working across different geographies, ideally with practical field experience;
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • A proven proactive approach to work - ideas for new initiatives or activities is a strong plus
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in French, Spanish or Arabic a strong plus
  • Relevant experiences from other roles can be used to compensate for less than required skills in the above requirements

Success Factors 

The Senior Advisor must be a proactive, demonstrated, self-starter, with ideas, energy and analytical ability to drive strategy and change. All TSU positions require strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills, and a level of emotional intelligence proficiency that quickly builds and maintains productive relationships across teams. Being aware and sensitive to international development issues and diverse cultures is critical.

S/he will have significant experience in youth employment and marker systems development, and be able to demonstrate a clear grasp of the key principles and the ability to communicate them clearly to people unfamiliar with them. 

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions 

The position requires travel at least 30% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. 

The position can be based out of UK or Netherland,  Kenya, Nigeria or Jordan

Applicants must have the right to work for one of these locations at the time of application

Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must able to work in remote settings, over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule, and in settings with limited infrastructure, food options, and living conditions. 

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. 

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact. 

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.


Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.