The EU institutions employ over 40 000 men and women from the 28 EU member countries. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) organises 'open competitions' to select personnel for permanent and non permanent positions. Besides permanent staff, the EU also employs contractual agents and temporary staff, offers traineeships and maintains databases of area experts.
The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU. Its website explains the selection process and gives advice on preparing for competitions.
EPSO organises 'open competitions' to select permanent staff. Competitions measure candidates' skills through a series of tests and assessments, ensuring the very best people are selected. Each year there are competitions for administrators, linguists, interpreters, translators, secretaries and other staff categories.
EPSO recruits staff for all the EU institutions:
Permanent officials are divided into administrators and assistants.
Administrators are typically involved in drafting policies and monitoring the implementation of EU law, analysing and advising. In general, to apply for an administrator competition, you must have completed (at least) three years of university.
Assistants usually work in supporting roles and are crucial for the internal management of the institutions. In general, to apply for an assistant competition, you must have completed (at least) secondary school.
Contract staff are hired for specific manual or administrative tasks. Contracts are generally for a limited period – usually starting with 6-12 months.
Temporary staff are recruited for specialised or temporary tasks with contracts of up to six years. Vacancies can be found on EPSO's website and on the websites of individual institutions and agencies.
Some institutions also take on local interim staff for up to six months – mainly for secretarial work. In this case recruitment is done by temping agencies.
Seven institutions also take on trainees for three to five months. Known as stagiaires, the trainees can be students, university graduates or linguists, and are given tasks similar to those of lower-grade administrators. Selection is organised by the institutions (not by EPSO).
For specific tasks (maintenance, canteens, etc.), staff are recruited via outside contractors selected through open tender procedures. See the contracting services websites for more information.
These are normally public-sector employees in their home country, seconded for a fixed period to an EU institution to share their expertise and learn about EU policies and procedures. National experts are selected through a specific procedure, which does not involve EPSO. Your country's permanent representation to the EU can inform you about current opportunities.
The European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Court of Justice of the European Union each have an interpretation service. The selection of staff interpreters (through open competitions organised by EPSO) and freelance interpreters (through an inter-institutional accreditation test) is carried out jointly.
The EU maintains databases with the names and qualifications of independent experts who can assist the institutions and agencies in specific areas. Experts create and maintain their own password-protected profile with information on work experience, education and skills. These databases are maintained by individual institutions and agencies (not EPSO). The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), for example, hosts a database of experts working under the 7th Framework Programme for EU research.