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Staff categories

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The EU offers employment in various staff categories: permanent officials, contract and temporary staff, seconded national experts, trainees and others. 

Click on the tabs below to learn more about employment details for each staff category. 

You can also check our How to apply section to learn more about the selection procedures for each staff category. 

With our sample tests you can then challenge yourself and see what skills you already have and what others you may need to develop to successfully pass the selection procedure. 

You can also learn more about different EU Career profiles and available job opportunities.

Permanent staff are members of the EU civil service appointed for an indefinite time. They constitute the core working force.

There are three categories for permanent EU officials: Administrators (AD), Assistants (AST) and Secretaries/Clerks (AST/SC).

Administrators

Administrators work in a variety of sectors such as justice, law, finance, environment and climate change, foreign affairs, agriculture, economics, IT, communication, human resources, science, translation and interpretation. 

Duties include developing policies and legislation; conducting analysis and advisory work; carrying out regulatory tasks; taking part in international negotiations; liaising with stakeholders and partners; engaging with citizens; revising and translating EU legal texts, among many others. 

An administrator career ranges from grades AD 5 to AD 16, with AD 5 being the entry-level grade for university graduates; grades AD 15 and AD 16 are reserved for Director Generals. 

Selection and recruitment are also possible at higher grades AD 6 or AD 7 for specialist profiles. In this case, candidates will be expected to have several years’ relevant educational background and work experience will be required for most profiles. 

Grades AD 9 to AD 12 are required for middle management posts. Previous management experience is mandatory for selection and recruitment at these higher grades.

Assistants

Assistants are typically engaged in an executive or technical role, providing support in a variety of fields such as finance, communication, administration, research, IT or policy implementation, to name but a few. 

An assistant career ranges from grades AST 1 to AST 11, with staff typically entering at grades AST 1 or AST 3. 

Secretaries/Clerks – Support staff
 
Secretaries and clerks are generally involved in office management and in providing administrative and technical support. Their duties include finalising documents and files; supporting the unit’s or department’s activities (meetings, official travel, diary); compiling and disseminating information (updating databases, files); performing manual tasks.  

A secretary/clerk career ranges from grade AST/SC 1 to AST/SC 6. New staff usually enters at grades AST/SC 1 or AST/SC 2. 

 

Learn more details on this salary table.

Find out more about selection procedures and available job opportunities for permanent staff.

It is possible to work for the EU on a fixed-term contract basis. 

Contract agents (or staff) carry out a number of manual or administrative tasks and may provide additional capacity in specialised fields where an insufficient number of officials is available. 

Contract staff is recruited in two different ways: via the CAST Permanent procedure or via an ad hoc selection process

In the first type of selection, the word CAST stands for Contract Agents Selection Tool while Permanent means that it is open-ended, with no application deadline.

CAST Permanent positions are available for a wide range of job profiles. In this selection, candidates apply for a profile and not for a specific job position.

EU institutions, bodies and agencies can also recruit contract staff to fill specific positions via ad hoc contract staff vacancies. In this case, for each vacancy an application deadline is set. 

As contract staffing needs arise, ad hoc vacancies may be published for a wide range of profiles such as webmasters, policy officers, linguists, project coordinators, security officers, scientific engineering managers, drivers, communication specialists, researchers, to name but a few. 

Learn more about application procedures for both CAST Permanent and ad hoc contact staff vacancies on our How to apply page.

In both CAST Permanent and ad hoc cases, candidates who are successful in obtaining a contract will be employed for a fixed amount of time. In some EU bodies and agencies, contracts could be extended for an indefinite duration.

All contract staff positions are divided into four function groups (career levels):
I.    Manual and administrative support-service tasks (FGI)
II.    Clerical or secretarial tasks, office management and other equivalent tasks (FGII)
III.    Executive tasks, drafting, accountancy and other equivalent technical tasks (FGIII)
IV.    Administrative, advisory, linguistic and equivalent technical tasks (FGIV)

Learn more details on this salary table.

Find available job opportunities for contract staff.

Temporary staff is recruited to fill vacant positions within the EU institutions and agencies for a set amount of time; this may range from a few months to a few years. 

They may be asked to perform regulatory, legal, scientific or financial support tasks;  conduct policy and data analysis; carry out IT, administrative, research, communication and programming duties, to name but a few.

Temporary staff cover posts requiring different types of qualifications and specialisations, varying from assistant to higher administrator positions. 

For administrator positions, temporary staff can be recruited at grades ranging from entry-level grade AD 5 to AD 6 or higher. Similarly, assistant grades start at AST 1 - AST 3 and can be higher for more specialised profiles.

Learn more details on this salary table.

Find out more about selection procedures and available job opportunities for temporary staff.

The EU traineeships programmes offer recent graduates a chance to increase their professional skills, expand their network and enhance their knowledge of the EU.

Traineeships (or internships) offer a great insight into the work of the EU civil service and are available in a wide range of fields: law, human resources, environment, communication, finance, data protection, scientific research, foreign policy, intellectual property, along with many others. 

From the European Parliament, to the European Commission, the Council of the EU, the European Court of Auditors or the EU agencies, the institutions and agencies organise traineeships typically for five months

In order to apply for a traineeship, candidates must have a university degree. Once recruited, trainees will perform tasks similar to those of lower grade administrator staff.

The majority of traineeships are paid, usually around €1,200 a month.

Find out more details and how to apply on our dedicated traineeships page

You can also check our EU Careers Ambassadors programme for students interested in promoting EU careers in their university campuses.

Seconded National Experts (SNEs) are qualified civil servants from EU Member States who bring their expertise to the EU for a fixed period of time. 

EU institutions and agencies recruit them whenever they need staff with the unique skills set that SNEs offer. These may range from technical, security, legal, financial, IT, communication, health, food or human resources competencies, to name but a few.

The exchange of expertise creates a win-win scenario and contributes to the development of effective and smooth working relationships between the EU and its Member States. 

At the end of their period of secondment, SNEs take the experience acquired at the EU back to the public administration in their home countries.

Find out more about selection procedures and available job opportunities for SNEs.

There are several other categories of staff, such as:
• Interim staff 
• EU experts
• Parliamentary assistants
• Freelance linguists
• Maintenance and canteen staff

Find out more about these categories and the procedures you need to follow if you want to apply for them on our How to apply page.