Senior External Affairs Officer

World Bank Group

Sydney, Australia

Experience: Atleast 8 years

Skill Required: Media and Communication

Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. 

External and Corporate Relations Vice-Presidency (ECR)

The mission of External and Corporate Relations (ECR) is to help deliver financial and political support for the World Bank Group, strengthen the Bank Group’s role as a global thought leader in development by enhancing and safeguarding its reputation, and supporting operational teams to achieve country outcomes. ECR manages corporate communications and global engagement with key stakeholders, including media, civil society, foundations, private sector, donor countries, and international organizations, as well as employee engagement. ECR also manages strategic communications for the World Bank’s Regions and Global Practices and leads the management of reputation risk. 

The East Asia Pacific External and Corporate Relations Unit (ECREA)

The East Asia and Pacific region remains one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the world. Over the past two decades, most countries in the region have achieved strong and stable growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and transformed economies across the region. Many East Asia and Pacific countries have risen to upper-middle income status and have set the goal of reaching high-income status in the near to medium term. The East Asia and Pacific region includes 23 countries and 6 Country Management Units.

The Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are part of the country management unit (CMU) managed by the Country Director in Sydney office. The World Bank’s Pacific Island member countries have a combined population of about 2.3 million people, spread over an area equivalent to 15% of the earth’s surface. The Pacific Island countries have substantial natural resources and extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity. However, they are physically remote, have small populations spread across many islands, and are some of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. PNG has a remarkable diversity of geographic and natural resources and has population of over 11.78 million people is young and growing with 85% of Papua New Guineans living in rural areas. The country’s rich culture is complex and deeply rooted in tribal and ethnic identity and relationships to the land. These contribute both to the country’s unique challenges as well as its considerable resilience. 

ECREA is recruiting a dynamic and seasoned professional to lead the World Bank’s communications for PNG and Pacific CMU. This position will report to the ECREA Communications Manager and will have a dotted line to the PNG and Pacific CMU Country Director. The position will be based in Sydney.

The ECREA team:

  • Provides strategic support to operations by embedding communications into the operations project cycle and reform processes and tells the story of the impact and results of World Bank support to its clients.
  • Proactively works to strengthens strategic relationships and alliances with key influencers in civil society, media, academia, think tanks, Parliament, faith-based groups, labor groups, etc., to build political support for the WBG’s work in the region and in-country.
  • Provides guidance, analysis, and advice as trusted advisors to regional and country management teams to help position the Bank as partner of choice, capitalize on opportunities to tell the development story and collaborates with operational teams to manage risks. 


  • Identifies opportunities for and forges strategic partnerships with key stakeholders inside and outside the WBG (including media, NGOs, civil society, universities/think tanks, and government) to improve dialogue and outreach and to strengthen the WBG's overall effectiveness and image in EAP. 
  • Oversees planning, coordination, and logistics, often across multiple teams, for press briefings, major conferences and seminars, executive missions, and speeches, public or broadcast appearances; and other communications-related activities (for example report launches, events etc.) involving external and/or internal audiences in coordination with relevant regional and corporate colleagues as required.
  • Leads in risk identification and mitigation activities in the context of WBG operations and initiatives in EAP; advises specific internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Supports the Head of the ECREA team in maintaining alignment between the global, regional, and country narratives and messaging.
  • As part of the ECREA regional leadership team, advises the Pacific country management unit and project/program leaders on trends, news developments, or changing/unexpected circumstances that may impact the WBG and its work, and determines appropriate strategic responses. 
  • Provides communication guidance to WBG operational teams and government implementing agencies. These include review and comment on key documents, capacity building to undertake communication interventions, consultations, and stakeholder engagement activities through lending and non-lending activities (i.e., projects, programs, analytical work, etc.).
  • Supports the preparation of major communications products, including (but not limited to): briefings and speeches for senior management, news releases, web stories, talking points, PowerPoint presentations, promotional brochures or other publications, audio-video products, and background documents. 
  • Lead on strategic advice, positioning, and issues management, providing timely guidance to ECREA Manager, Country Director, and the Leadership Teams.
  • Advise management and project/program teams on trends, news developments, or changing/ unexpected circumstances that may impact the WBG and its work and determines appropriate strategic responses.
  • Designs campaign-style media and stakeholder engagement plans, coalition building strategies and key messages to position the World Bank on key issues/projects/initiatives and maintains effective relationships with key national and international media audiences. Also manages and provides support to major outreach efforts and launches in the region.
  • Oversee in close consultation with the country communications team members and the ECREA digital lead websites, social media and other online communications platforms and outreach channels. 
  • Coordinates a team of staff members and consultants located in the regional CMU and provides coaching and oversight on the day-to-day work of communications staff based in the field.

Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated experience with proactively positioning issues and identifying impact externally and internally, developing impactful messaging, stakeholder engagement, media engagement and managing reputational risks and issues.
  • Strong conceptual and research/analytical skills, with the ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze and integrate diverse information from varied sources into conclusions and recommendations. 
  • Thorough knowledge of and practical experience in full range of communications approaches, tools, and methodologies essential to planning, executing, and monitoring communications strategies – including campaign management, media operations, social marketing, opinion research, audience outreach, and targeted messaging. 
  • Ability to plan and successfully implement a comprehensive communications program in support of defined objectives.
  • In-depth knowledge of the social, political and development issues in the country with strong current knowledge of key constituencies, their operations, policies, practices, and priorities, particularly as they relate to and work with the Bank.
  • Well established network of contacts in both media (global and regional) and among other key constituencies in the region.
  • Good understanding of the Bank, its policies, and operations; up-to-date knowledge of current development topics and issues in the region, and ability to identify communications-related risks and opportunities in an international environment.
  • Experience working with senior management, meeting multiple and changing deadlines, and delivering high quality strategic advice and communications products.
  • Proven planning and organizational skills. Strong conceptual and research/analytical skills, with the ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze and integrate diverse information from varied sources into conclusions and recommendations.
  • Exceptional ability to write and edit in English for a wide range of communication products as well as for the web, with experience conveying complex ideas in a clear, direct, and lively, (non-academic) style. Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills. 
  • Effective people skills; proven experience in working as both a leader and a member of team. 
  • Demonstrated political awareness and ability to diplomatically handle sensitive situations with target audiences and to otherwise cultivate effective, productive client relationships/partnerships and ability to work effectively with internal/external partners in a multicultural environment.
  • Master's degree with 8 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience in a relevant discipline (communications, journalism, international affairs, or other related fields). 
  • The candidate should have a legal right to work in Australia.