Job type

European union official

£23k - £173k

Typical salary

37 – 39

Hours per week

European Union (EU) officials work for institutions like the European Commission or the European Parliament.

More info

  • Help develop laws and policies within Europe
  • Excellent negotiation skills needed, along with a willingness to travel
  • Some roles may require you to be a national of an EU Member State

Working for the EU, you can pursue many different career options, depending on your background. For example, if you're a lawyer, economist, or linguist by training, you should think about roles where the maximum will be made of your skills and/or previous work experience. You can also choose between whether you want to apply for an administrator role or an assistant role. With a 40,000-strong workforce, there's plenty of opportunity to find your perfect post.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

  • Drawing up new laws
  • Taking part in negotiations with non-EU countries
  • Putting new policies and programmes into practice
  • Attending meetings and conferences
  • Preparing research and reports
  • Answering questions from members of the European Parliament
  • Managing staff, finances or equipment

DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

Most jobs are in Brussels or Luxembourg. You'll be office-based, but you may travel to attend meetings and conferences. You'll usually have support to help you fit into the country you're working in.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to work with people from different countries, excellent communication and presentation skills, logical thinking and problem-solving ability, and excellent IT skills.

This role is unlikely to be accessible for UK citizens once the UK leaves the EU.

You must be a citizen of a European Union (EU) member state and have a working knowledge of a second EU language.

You do not need a qualification in the second language, but you'll be tested during the recruitment process. Sample tests can be found on EU Careers.

You must apply for jobs at all grades through an annual selection process known as an 'open competition'. This involves computer-based testing in your home country, and an assessment stage held in Brussels. If you're successful at the assessment stage, you'll be put on a reserve list for up to 1 year. Candidates from the reserve list will then be selected for interview when a suitable job comes up.

You'll need a degree and 1 to 3 years' professional experience for administrator jobs. If you're a recent graduate, you'll usually start as a junior administrator. For many jobs, your degree can be in any subject, although you may need a particular degree such as law, economics, statistics or a science for some roles.

You'll need at least 3 years' professional experience and a degree in a specific subject for specialist job roles.

For lawyer linguist jobs, you must have a recognised law degree or be a qualified solicitor or barrister.

You'll also need to be fluent in 2 more EU languages as well as your native language. One of your languages will usually need to be French or German.

It may also be possible to work your way into this job by starting in a role with less responsibility and applying for promotion when you've got more experience. There are two levels you can start with, depending on your qualifications. For a Support level job like secretary or clerk, you'll need either 2 A levels or equivalent and 3 years' professional experience or 1 year of professional training and 3 years' professional experience. For Assistant level jobs, you'll usually need a higher national diploma or equivalent or 2 A levels or similar qualifications, plus relevant work experience.

If you’re a graduate, you may be able to get useful work experience through the European Commission Traineeship Scheme. This is a 5-month training and work placement programme.

You can also work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a business administrator.

CAREER PROSPECTS

With experience, you could progress to higher grades. There is a clear promotion structure, with regular reviews, exams and competitions for progression.