Career opportunities in the institutions of the European Union | Student Life |

Career opportunities in the institutions of the European Union

The European Union is one of the best employers you can ever imagine. Indeed, more than 40.000 people work for the European institutions. Despite that, there are not many job seekers who think about working for the EU. Whether you are in your final year, a young graduate or an experienced professional you might consider a career in one of the many institutions of the European Union after reading this.



The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the organisation in charge of the recruitment for the EU. Anyone you wants to apply for a job in the UE should register on their website in order to subscribe for the open competitions. The EPSO filters the best candidates with their tests and the institutions hire regarding the results of these tests.


The open competition

Every candidate has to go through this two-phases competition

  • The pre-selection consists in a series of tests on a computer. The first part will be an assessment of your reasoning skills and the second part is more practical.
  • The evaluation is based on one hand on general competences and on the other hand on specific competences regarding the field of your application. There is an oral and a written examination

The candidates who passed the two phases will make it to the reserve list from which the institutions choose the person they need according to the vacancies and the profile of the candidates.

It is possible to check examples of tests provided by the EU if you follow this link

The registration for the different positions takes place in different periods

  • The competition for administrators is organised in spring
  • The competition for linguists takes place every summer
  • The competition for assistants is during the winter

In order to take the EPSO test you have to master at least 2 languages spoken in the EU, at least one of which has to be French, English or German.


The job profiles

Here are the different fields might interest the EU for a position in one of their institutions;

  • Public administration
  • Law
  • Economics
  • Audit
  • Languages
  • Communication
  • IT
  • Human resources
  • External relations
  • Finance


The types of employment

A. Permanent officials

- The administrators: their main roles are the drafting of policies and the implementing of EU law. Translators and interpreters are also considered as administrators. However, you might need some experience to obtain a contract as administrator (maybe with an exception for the linguists)

- The assistants: Their role is more internal to the institutions and their main tasks are often technical and executive.

- The assistants-Secretaries: their job is mainly administrative.

B. Contract Staff (CAST)

Their contract is temporary (usually from 6 to 12 months) and never it lasts more than 5 years. However it can be renewed for 5 more years once or become permanent.

Their role changes in function of their specialities. There are 4 types of functions assigned to Contract staff:

  • Manual and administrative support tasks
  • Secretarial tasks
  • Executive tasks
  • Administrative, advisory and linguistic tasks
C. Seconded national experts (SNEs)

They usually are public sector employees and they only work for an institution for a delimitated period of time. They work with a member of the Commission on a specific matter. Some experience is required for a job as an expert.

D. Internships

More than 30.000 students or young professionals have worked as interns in one of the many institutions of the EU in the past 45 years. An internship in the UE lasts from 3 to 5 months but you have to be at least in a master’s degree to do your internship in a European institution.

Unlike professional, interns are directly recruited by the institutions not through the EPSO

Here is a list of institutions hiring interns with the link to the internship offers.


Forum des carrières de l’Europe

The Secrétariat général des affaires européennes (SGAE) will organize the first forum des carrières de l’Europe in Paris on November 28, 2015. This forum will have for aim to improve the visibility of the UE among professionals and to encourage the pursuing of a European career.

Furthermore, Manuel Valls (French Prime Minister) and Kristalina Georgieva (Vice President of the European Commission) will be present in Paris for the Forum.

In ordrer to attend the Forum you need to subscribe right here.  

Forum des carrières de l'Europe


Jordan Godet

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