Equal opportunities

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The EU institutions – where talent counts!

Our vision and mission

Here at EPSO we believe in equality & diversity. To ensure that the EU institutions offer equal opportunities to everyone and reflect the diversity of today's world, we uphold the following principles and objectives.

  • EPSO ensures equal opportunities, treatment and access to all candidates regardless of their sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation  
  • EPSO respects inclusion in the selection procedures and provides all candidates with an equal opportunity to fully demonstrate their competencies by identifying and eliminating their blocking factors, possible biases and risks of discrimination
  • EPSO promotes equal opportunities and engages with various stakeholder groups and expert organisations in order to reach out to a more diverse talent
  • EPSO wishes to increase diversity in the talent pool and help the EU Civil Service to be representative of the diversity of the EU citizens we serve
How do we turn principles into practice?

Discover the concrete steps we have taken to turn equal opportunities and diversity into a working reality.

  • We ensure that your test questions are neutral by performing systematic statistical analysis and monitoring
  • We base our selection methods on standardised and objective competency-based assessments
  • We perform anonymised CV screenings and markings on objective criteria only
  • We provide reasonable accommodations for you if you have a disability or special needs
  • We implement the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
  • We systematically perform equality and diversity screenings/audits of selection processes and tests. We identify blocking factors and barriers that might affect your selection procedure and adopt corrective measures
  • We perform regular accessibility screenings in order to continually improve accessibility of our communication, selection procedures and tests. When necessary, we produce adapted formats accessible to assistive technologies and individual assistance. We also integrate accessibility requirements in any new IT developments
  • We train selection board members in charge of assessing your competencies on how to select and recruit in the most biasfree, objective and professional way respecting equal opportunities and treatment.
  • We aim to have balanced boards of selection members to limit any risk of bias and discrimination. When appointing selection boards we strive for members from diverse backgrounds and look at ensuring a balance in terms of gender, nationalities, languages, staff committees and administration
  • We collect systematic feedback from candidates allowing us to continually improve what we do
  • We do our utmost in our communication to attract talent from all 28 member states by adopting targeted ways of reaching key audiences. This includes EU Careers Staff Ambassadors who blog about living and working in the EU to show potential candidates what an EU career is about. But also, we have an active on-campus presence through the EU Careers Student Ambassadors, as well as through targeted participation in careers events, fairs and other activities



How does EPSO proceed?

In order to tackle gender equality, EPSO has adopted different actions such as an on-going psychometric action plan with the objective to continuously improve the management of tests, in particular psychometric and other tests administered at the preselection phase. Furthermore, selection board members in charge of assessing candidates’ competencies at the Assessment Centre are trained on how to ensure equal opportunities and treatment in interviews and other exercises.

The key goal, at any selection stage, is to minimise gender impact and offer the same opportunities to women and men to demonstrate their abilities.

EPSO has therefore undertaken detailed research and actions to avoid discrimination between women and men and to ensure that equal opportunities are provided to both genders to demonstrate their skills and potential.

Disability/special needs

Your disability or medical condition should not be an obstacle to your participation in a selection procedure.

EPSO has a well-established reasonable accommodations procedure based on international best practices in this field. This allows us to identify barriers and obstacles due to a disability or a medical condition, and allow candidates with special needs to demonstrate their abilities on an equal basis with any other candidate.



Need special adjustments of selection tests?

To be granted special adjustments in the selection procedure due to your disability or a permanent medical condition, you currently need to follow the next steps:

STEP 1. In your application form, check the box ‘ACCESS REQUIREMENTS' and let us know if you have special needs. In order to allow us to better understand the difficulties your disability or medical condition pose in a testing situation, please describe your disability and adjustments you require in detail.  You will need to send a copy of your disability (or medical) certificate(s) to back up your request for special adjustments. Without these certificate(s) your request cannot be taken into consideration.

We will accept a certificate attesting a disability issued by a recognised national body or a medical certificate issued by a specialist. The latter type of certificate must be accompanied by a more detailed report.

We guarantee that the data relating to your disability or medical condition will be treated confidentially in compliance with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000.

STEP 2. Once you have introduced your request for special adjustments, you will be contacted by EPSO ACCESSIBILITY team (in charge of defining and organising reasonable accommodations of selection tests for candidates with special needs)  in due time for any additional information or for confirmation of what adjustments  you will be granted.

STEP 3. You will be invited for your tests, and based on what has been granted to you in terms of reasonable accommodations, you will sit the tests in the best conditions possible.

STEP 4: You will have the opportunity to give us your feedback in order to help us continually improve our practices.

What type of special adjustments can I expect?

Based on your disability or medical condition and the difficulties it may pose in a testing situation, you will be asked to inform us about the type of adjustments that would be useful for you. Indeed, EPSO considers the candidate to be the best expert of their disability or medical condition.

On a case-by-case basis and taking into consideration your supporting documentation and EPSO’s expertise built in the field of reasonable accommodations of selection tests to candidates with special needs, you will be offered accommodations per type of test you will need to sit. Therefore, the final accommodations you will receive may differ from what you requested.



Some examples of possible adjustments:

- ensuring accessibility 

- additional time to sit the tests

- enlarged texts or magnifying software

- print outs in Braille or Braille keyboard

- Screen readers

- Sign language interpretation

- adapted lighting height-adjustable desks

- individual assistance and much more…


Difficulties with accessibility? 

Accessibility is very important for EPSO and we are intensively working on continuously improving accessibility of our communication and selection procedures. Regular accessibility screenings are performed in order to check how accessible we are and how we can enhance accessibility for all. Accessibility requirements are integrated in all new IT developments; we produce accessible formats to assistive technologies of documents which are not 100% accessible and we are currently auditing our website to reach AA level of WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

Are you still encountering difficulties accessing some parts of our website and/or documents?

Or would you like to give us your feedback and help us out in enhancing accessibility of our website and selection procedures? Please contact us



Discover the testimonies of our colleagues

Johan has been a system administrator in the European Parliament in Brussels for two years. Diagnosed with autism 12 years ago, his disability is not visible at first sight. We asked him if he felt integrated in his team and whether his disability had ever been an obstacle in his work.

"I feel integrated in the team. I am quite extravert so I like the interaction with my colleagues. We often tell jokes and we laugh a lot. Most of my colleagues do not know I have autism. Over the years, I learned to hide my disability and in fact, in the sector I work in, autistic behaviour is not that uncommon. I’m maybe an atypical person with autism. Most people think that people with autism do not like socializing, which is really a misconception. True, people with autism think in a different manner, they are more focused on details, for example, and often they have problems dealing with sensory input, but when they feel relaxed they really enjoy the companionship of others."

Konstantinos has been working for a year at the Directorate-General for Infrastructure and Logistics at the European Parliament in Luxembourg. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006 and walks with the aid of a crutch. We asked him how he found his working environment.

"By working within an environment that is very helpful to me (nice colleagues, accessible infrastructures), my health condition is now steady, if not improved. Moreover, the projects that I was assigned to deal with inspire me to work even harder. My main object regards the improvement of the facilities of the European Parliament concerning their accessibility to people with special needs. In this context, I feel blessed that I have been given the chance to demonstrate the European Union's best practices concerning disability issues."

Ville has been a legal officer at the European Commission in Brussels since 2013. He has been blind since birth. We asked him how he found the selection process and since obtaining a post at the Commission, what he'd found surprising about working for the EU.

"Having consulted the EPSO website, I contacted the EPSO accessibility team by e-mail already before filling in the registration form for the competition. They kindly gave me further instructions and I filled in the relevant part in the registration form. I found the service of the Accessibility Team very competent and well-organised. Having received my registration, they came up with suggested arrangements to enable my participation in the first round of the competition on an equal footing as a blind candidate and I found these very appropriate and fit for purpose. This good cooperation from their part continued throughout the competition, including the Assessment Centre phase. For me, a very positive surprise was that almost all documents are in a digital form since all correspondence sent and received is registered in electronic databases. Therefore, as a screen reader user, I spend practically no time scanning paper documents to the computer as I had to do in my previous jobs."

Discover more stories from our staff ambassadors here.