Because the United Nations is not tied to any one country, it bases its salary scales on the Noblemaire principle, which sets professional compensation based on the highest-paying national service.
The UN uses five professional grades and two director levels, with separate systems for Secretary General and Director General of some organizations. These standards also apply to Field Service (international peacekeepers).
General service staff are paid according to the standards of the location in which they work and use seven grades, though local conditions can affect pay.
Because most member nations exempt UN positions from national taxes, the organization assesses an internal tax that is deducted from total pay. It also adjusts gross pay based on whether the staffer has a dependent spouse or child.
Salaries vary according to grade level and experience. As of January 2009, the P1 (professional) level grants a gross income of $46,553 for the first year and $61,114 for the tenth. The D2 (director) level receives $145,112 for the first year and $160,974 for the sixth.
A worker in the professional or higher category--or one who has been in field service for more than a year--also receives post adjustments based on the local standard of living compared with New York. For example, postings in Japan garner higher salaries, while those in the Philippines receive lower pay.