Dr Jomo is the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General on Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Before his UN appointment, he was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and Professor in the Applied Economics Department, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He was Founder and Chair of IDEAs, or International Development Economics Associates. He also served on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Research Institute on Social Development (UNRISD). He was President of the Malaysian Social Science Association (1996-2000), and also served on the Pro-tem Committee of the Asian Social Science Association (1980-1984) and the Executive Committee of the International Peace Research Association (1982-1987). He has served on various academic and professional committees, as well as Malaysia's National Economic Consultative Council (1989-1991).
Dr Jomo started his career in the teaching profession. He taught at Science University of Malaysia (USM, 1974), Harvard (1974-1975), Yale (1977), National University of Malaysia (UKM, 1977-1982), University of Malaya (since 1982), and Cornell University (1993). He has also been a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (1987-1988; 1991-1992). He studied at the Penang Free School (PFS, 1964-1966), Royal Military College (RMC, 1967-1970), Yale (BA, 1970-1973) and Harvard (MPA, PhD, 1973-1977).
Dr Jomo has authored over 35 monographs, edited over 50 books and translated 11 volumes besides writing many academic papers and articles for the media. He is on the editorial boards of several learned journals.