Equal opportunities

Home > How to apply > Equal opportunities

NEWS: Discover our "Call for cooperation to all EU organisations involved in the promotion and welfare of EU citizens with disabilities"

 

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 specific 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 EU 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.
  • 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/ specific 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 specific 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: REGISTRATION PHASE

You are applying for an EPSO selection and you need special adjustments for selection tests due to a disability or a medical condition. Tick the checkbox ‘special needs requirements’ in your application form in your EPSO Account and validate your application within the published deadline.

STEP 2: INFORMATION PHASE

You have validated your application in the registration phase. In your EPSO Account complete the information form regarding your specific needs, making sure to attach all relevant supporting documents, i.e. disability or medical certificates, reports etc. Please be aware of EPSO’s ‘No certificates no adjustments’ policy and remember to complete this phase within the published deadline.

We guarantee that the data relating to your disability or medical condition will be treated confidentially in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018

STEP 3: EPSO ANALYSIS PHASE

EPSO ACCESSIBILITY team will analyse your request and evaluate which reasonable accommodations may be granted, if any. Reasonable accommodations are defined and approved based on your documented needs, the type of test and best international practices and expertise in this field.

In the event that reasonable accommodation is granted, you will be informed of the details in good time before your test date.

If you are not satisfied with the EPSO decision concerning your request, please contact epso-accessibility@ec.europa.eu.

STEP 4: TEST PHASE

You will be invited to sit the EPSO selection tests according to your specific needs and accommodations granted, in the best possible conditions allowing you to fully demonstrate your competencies and to compete on an equal basis with other candidates.

STEP 5: FEEDBACK PHASE

Your feedback matters. With a view to continuous improvement of our services, epso-accessibility@ec.europa.eu will invite you, at the end of the each selection test, to share your feedback regarding the accommodations granted.

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 specific 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…

Please note that assistive technology is for the moment only possible at the Assessment Centre phase in Brussels. EPSO is currently working at enlarging the scope to allow the use of assistive technology at other stages of the selection process and for different types of tests. In the meantime, we will continue to analyse your needs and offer you assistance and ad-hoc accommodations to allow you to take the tests in the best possible conditions. All other accommodations are possible at different stages of the selection process.

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 feel free to contact us and we will come back to you as soon as possible!

Discover the testimonies of our colleagues

Johan has been a system administrator in the European Parliament in Brussels since 2014. Diagnosed with autism in 2004, 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."

Johan also encourages other candidates with special needs to apply for a EU Career and leaves his advice.

"The European institutions are a nice place to work in. The people are open-minded towards persons with disabilities. Also, the buildings have been adapted to accommodate for people in wheelchairs. You have to show the selection committee that you are of equal or better value as other candidates without a disability. So know your stuff and give it a try."

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 is a legal officer at the European Commission in Brussels since 2013 and has been blind since birth. We asked him how he found the selection process and how he feels at his job in the European Commission.

"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. I feel fully integrated thanks to the wonderful attitude of my colleagues and superiors."

Ville also gives his advice to other candidates with special needs applying for an EU Career.

"Show your motivation. If you have a disability, try to think about this from the employer's point of view. Be prepared for questions on this subject and think in advance about reasonable solutions to any special needs this might cause in the specific job context. Remain patient. Take each application and interview as a learning opportunity even if you were not chosen. Concentrate on competencies rather than the special needs themselves."

Frederic is in charge of accessibility for people with reduced mobility at the OIB (the European Commission's office for infrastructure and logistics). Frederic is blind and has been working for the EU institutions since 1998.
We asked him what kind of special arrengements were provided to him at his job.

"Computer equipped with speech synthesis software (JAWS), Braille keyboard. When I arrived, DG Research & Innovation offered me more than what I really needed, it was very impressive and great as a welcome. My first experience was great. Afterwards, during my mobility it was less obvious, but I always knew how to have what I needed by being patient."

Frederic also shares that his disability is not an obstacle within his team.

"The handicap is an advantage here! I present it in a joyful way. I do not give the impression of dragging all the misery of the world behind me. And because I have a dog, it helps, it is the mascot."

Maurizio is press officer in the European Parliament in Italy. He is blind and has been working for the EU institutions since 2015.
We asked him how he found the selection procedure and if he feels integrated in his team.

"The EPSO Accessibility Team was great! Everything went very well during the competition. I had my test in Brail and a personal assistant; I also had a test in an electronic version. In terms of proper job selection, it was only the interview so I didn’t really need any accommodation. I don’t feel any obstacles. I never had problems because I was disabled. If you have a positive attitude, even if people are ignorant or sceptical, if you’re keen on sharing your experience, you can break walls."

Maurizio advises other candidates with special needs to apply for an EU Career.

"I would say, it is absolutely feasible, it can be done, and you don’t need to be polyglot or a super hero! It’s just something very feasible. It takes so little of your time, that you don’t have anything to lose, and what you have to win is a very interesting career. Cost benefit analysis is definitely interesting. The only thing painful thing is the application…. But once you’ve done with it, it’s very little time and potentially a huge opportunity! Don’t be discouraged by the application!"

 

Krystle works as a communications assistant in the European Commission in Brussels, she has reduced mobility and has been working for the European institution since 2002.
We asked her what kind of special arrangements were provided to her and if she feels her disability has been an obstacle for her job.

"The Commission provided me with a wheelchair, a footrest, a medical chair and a reserved parking space. Support bars were placed in the washroom. I feel totally integrated in my team. When we have a meeting, my colleagues come spontaneously to offer help to take me or ask what they can do. It is a pleasure to feel appreciated and recognized for my work. I do not have any special treatment, I work as hard as the others, under a benevolent look when it comes to mobility."

Krystle also gives her advice to other candidates with special needs applying for an EU Career.

"I highly recommend applying! No physical handicap is an obstacle, competitions are based on knowledge, not a marathon. Everyone is accepted, nationality, color, gender, physical disability, ... nothing is an obstacle. All EU nationalities from all horizons are represented, the difference is positive. Maltese PRM or Estonian visually impaired, it has no importance. Multicultural means working with others, without making any distinctions. The Institutions have set up services that welcome all types of people, equal opportunities are a real right."

Fabio is a head of unit at the European Parliament's Directorate of Human Resources. He is a leg amputee and has been working for the European institutions since 2001.
We asked him if he needed any kind of special arrangements at his job.

"When I can not walk with my prosthesis I walk on crutches, but cannot use my hands. I do not use anything special, I have IT tools (Ipad, fewer notebooks). For my back problems due to the prosthesis, I have a table adjusted in height. I am entitled to parking. It was not difficult to get the amenities. Since I have a motor disability, it is less problematic. I can interact 100%."

Fabio shares his advice for other candidates with special needs applying for an EU Career.

"We must not be afraid, we must give ourselves the means to face a new situation. Do not go in the dark, come here and think that everything will be fine and that the Parliament will take care of everything. No institution in the world will be able to take care of everything. Preparing for a new environment is especially applicable for people with disabilities. Someone with a disability already knows that they have to approach things differently... prepare themselves differently too."

Discover more stories from our staff ambassadors here.