Industry Specialist (Water Sector)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Washington, DC, US


Do you want to build a career that is full of meaning and impact? The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. Visit

The Infrastructure and Natural Resources Department is recruiting a professionally qualified, Water Sector Industry Specialist with about 10 years post graduate experience. The position will be based in Washington, DC, but will have a global focus and may require international travel up to 30% of their time. The position provides a great opportunity for the candidate to expand their water and waste sector experience while making a difference to people’s lives.

The strategy for IFC (IFC 3.0) is increasingly focused on market creation in emerging economies, and in developing upstream activities.  To support this work, we are increasing the number of sectoral specialists who can provide support for this work.  This upstream work includes market studies where the sector specialist will support or lead the drafting of the terms of reference for the consultants preparing the study, and managing their work.  The candidate should have some experience of procuring and managing consultants. 

The Water Sector Industry Specialist will have a key role in supporting senior Industry Specialists to evaluate potential investments.  They will carry out sector analysis and write reports, so clarity of communication is vital.  They will need to be commercially minded and be familiar with the stages of a project investment cycle.

The successful candidate is expected to be early to mid-career with at least 8 years post graduate experience in the water sector, in roles such as a consulting engineer, technical specialist or operational specialist.  They are expected to be professionally qualified with a professional registration related to the water and/or construction sector.  

The Water Sector Industry Specialist should preferably have experience of working in emerging markets, be able to demonstrate sound business judgment, an understanding of the principles of the investment cycle, have excellent written communication skills and have good analytical skills. They should be able to provide water sector expertise on the technical and operational aspects of investment proposals in emerging markets.  They will also occasionally offer support to other sectors so some knowledge of the waste sector would be beneficial.   

They should be able to draft terms of reference for the appointment of consultants in the water sector and have experience of managing consultants.

The selected candidate will be based in Washington DC and will work under the oversight of the principal Water Industry Specialist. The position will have a global focus and ability to undertake extended international travel commitments taking up to 30% of their time.  

Roles and Accountabilities:

  • Work together with the senior Industry Specialist for water as well as IFC Investment Officers in the global team to analyze potential investments in the water (and occasionally waste) sectors
  • Provide research and analysis for projects in the water sector such as:
    • Tracking market trends and regulatory frameworks including presenting summaries of this analytical work
    • Project specific analysis for IFC project staff to support a potential investment
    • Identify emerging market opportunities and potential areas for growth in the water sector
    • Bench marking costs and developing high level tools for preparing estimates
  • Work closely with colleagues from other IFC practices as well as the World Bank to identify synergies and harness shared opportunities in the sectors
  • Provide the key liaison role between the IFC water team and the 2030 Water Resource Group in the World Bank Water Global Practice with support from other senior staff
  • Support IFC’s investment and advisory work in the water sector, including:
    • Supporting the IFC efforts for business development in the water sector
    • Providing sectoral perspective and expertise by reviewing contracts, concession agreements, and other technical documents
    • Liaise with IFC current and prospective clients, consultants and co-investors as directed
    • Support IFC’s portfolio of water sector investments.
  • Procuring consultants for studies and management of consultants:
    • Prepare Terms of Reference for studies to be carried out by consulting organisations
    • Procure consultants using the WBG Procurement System – eConsult2- training will be provided on this system
    • Supervise consultants and consulting organisations when carrying out the studies, including reviewing and commenting on the consultant’s reports
  • Knowledge management and dissemination:
    • Support the development of content for IFC’s knowledge platforms, especially the internal website
  • Evaluate the technical and commercial viability of potential new water technologies presented to IFC
  • Identify and evaluate potential partners and companies in the water sector
  • Support the carrying out of due diligence of potential IFC investments through review and evaluation of market, technology and contracts.

Selection Criteria

  • At least 8 years’ experience in the water sector leading to a professional qualification relevant to the water sector. This may include an engineering qualification with extensive water sector experience, a business qualification with extensive water sector experience, an environmental management qualification with extensive water sector experience or another field with a close connection to the water sector
  • Excellent communication skills in both oral and written English
  • Experience of drafting terms of reference to engage consultants and the management of the work of consultants
  • Sound business judgment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Projects
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to report the findings
  • Experience of working in emerging economies and willingness and ability to travel extensively internationally
  • Good IT skills and proficient in the MS Offices suite of applications

Desired Criteria

  • Familiarity with recent developments and technologies in the water sector
  • Understanding of construction, operations, PPPs, and performance-based contracting
  • Ability to evaluate capital and operational cost parameters for different technologies
  • Knowledge of industry benchmarks and best practices for evaluation of operational efficiencies
  • Proficient in additional languages skills (including, but not limited to Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin and French) are an advantage
  • A post graduate degree in a water related field and/or business is an advantage.