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Types of employment
There are a number of ways in which people can come to work in the Institutions. Below is a description of the different categories of staff who can work in the EU Institutions.
For more information on careers, including recruitment, promotions, pay and benefits see the Staff Regulations.
Check also our Current job opportunities
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The permanent officials form the EU Civil Service and are divided in two categories – administrators (AD) and assistants (AST), with a career system consisting of 16 levels (grades).
Administrators are typically engaged in drafting policies and implementing EU law, analysing and advising. An administrator may find him/herself playing a key role in the EU's legislative and budgetary processes, coordinating the broad economic and other policies of the Member States, taking part in trade negotiations with non-EU countries, or representing the Institutions in international forums. Others might be inspecting the fishing fleets in the Member States, developing or managing a specific scientific research programme, or drafting a decision of the European Court of Justice or the European Ombudsman. We offer a very wide range of career opportunities for university graduates including administration, law, finance, economics, communication and science to name but a few.
- An administrator career covers grades AD 5 to AD 16.
- AD 5 is the entry level for University graduates.
- Selection and recruitment may also be offered at AD 6 / AD 7 in more specialist roles. Several years' relevant experience will be required.
- AD 9 / AD 12 is middle management level. Selection/recruitment at these grades requires previous management experience.
- See also Examples of qualifications required
Assistants are generally employed in a supporting role (secretarial, administrative, financial, communication, research, policy development and implementation etc). They play an important role in the internal management of the Institutions, notably in budgetary and financial affairs, personnel work, computing, and document management and scientific laboratory work.
- An assistant career covers grades AST 1 to AST 11.
- New staff usually enter at grades AST 1 or AST 3.
- AST 1 candidates must have completed secondary education and have previous relevant experience, or have a relevant vocational qualification.
- AST 3 candidates should have a relevant vocational qualification and/or several years' relevant experience.
- See also Examples of qualifications required
Contract staff (CAST) are recruited to do manual or administrative support–service tasks or to provide additional capacity in specialised fields where insufficient officials with the required skills are available. Contract staff are employed for a fixed maximum period, often with a shorter initial contract of 6-12 months, depending on the type of the job. In some EU bodies, it may be possible for the contract to be extended for an indefinite duration.
Contract staff positions are available for a wide range of jobs, requiring different levels of qualifications. They are divided into four function groups:
I. manual and administrative support-service tasks
II. clerical or secretarial tasks, office management and other equivalent tasks
III. executive tasks, drafting, accountancy and other equivalent technical tasks
IV. administrative, advisory, linguistic and equivalent technical tasks.
Temporary staff may be employed to perform a wide variety of highly specialised or temporary tasks.
See the Staff Regulations, for more information on the different types of contracts for temporary staff.
Some Institutions also employ staff on a very short term and temporary basis (up to 6 months), through temping agencies.
Each year more than 1,200 young people have the chance to increase their professional skills, develop their personal qualities, and enhance their EU knowledge through the EU trainee programmes. The European Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the External Action Service, Court of Justice, Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Ombudsman organise traineeships for young university graduates, each lasting 3-5 months. Trainees will all have completed their first university degree, and so receive tasks similar to those of the lower AD grade officials.
Seconded national experts (SNEs)
SNEs are national or international civil servants or persons employed in the public sector who are working temporarily for an EU Institution. They bring to the Institution their experience of issues with which they are used to dealing, and take back to their home administration a knowledge of EU policies and procedures which they will have acquired during their period of secondment.
Contact your country's permanent representation to the EU for information about current opportunities.
See the European Parliament's website for information about parliamentary assistants working for Members of the European Parliament.
See also the individual websites of the Political Groups for information about their own recruitment procedures.