European Union official

Alternative titles for this job include EU official

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

Average salary (a year)

£23,500 Starter

to

£173,500 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings away from home

How to become a European Union official

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

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.

Entry requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 4 (C) or above, including English language
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

Apprenticeship

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

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

It may 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:

  • Support level
  • Assistant level

For a Support level job like secretary or clerk, you'll need one of the following:

  • 2 A levels or equivalent and 3 years' professional experience
  • 1 year of professional training and 3 years' professional experience

For Assistant level jobs, you'll usually need one of the following:

  • a higher national diploma or equivalent
  • 2 A levels or similar qualifications, plus relevant work experience

Volunteering and 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.

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a European Union official from EU Careers.

Details on how to apply can be found from the European Personnel Selection Office.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • knowledge of English language
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • the ability to read English
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a working knowledge of a second EU language
  • be a citizen of an EU member state

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.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

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