Working with an EU institution or agency can give you the opportunity to gain new skills, progress your career and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people across the European Union. There is a variety of jobs across the many institutions, along with traineeships programmes for those wishing to gain experience.
Getting a job with an EU institution or agency
If you are interested in working in the EU, there is a wide range of work available.
What are the benefits of working in the EU?
Working with an EU institution or agency can look really good on your CV, and gives you the option to work in a broad range of policy and administrative areas inside and outside the EU.
It will give you the chance to work in multicultural teams, meet lots of interesting people, and make contacts which could be useful in future years.
What kind of jobs are available in the EU?
Considering the size of the EU and the range of work that the institutions and agencies do, there are many types of jobs available. Linguists and lawyers are always in demand, along with economists, IT specialists, scientists and veterinarians. The EU institutions and agencies also often look for administrative and support staff with more general backgrounds.
While many people find jobs with the European Commission, other institutions such as the European Parliament also recruit regularly. You can also try to find a job with one of the many European agencies such as the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Where are EU jobs located?
EU institutions and agencies have a presence in most member states, including in Ireland, so there are opportunities all around the continent for those who are interested.
What kind of skills do I need to work in the EU?
Each job will require a specific set of skills. If you are applying for a job with the EU, the list of required skills should be listed in the job description. Generally, most of the EU institutions and agencies will look for people who are resilient, communicative, motivated, result-driven, analytical and have the potential to lead.
For many EU jobs, a second language is a huge advantage or even necessary. If you want to get involved in translation, you will need to be fluent in a third language as well. Irish counts as an official EU language.
What are the EU traineeship programmes?
You will likely need a lot of experience to get a full-time position with an EU institution or agency. However, if you are a young graduate and do not have much experience, you can consider applying for a traineeship programme, also known as a stage. These opportunities are nearly always fully paid, and last around five months. For many, a traineeship can serve as a stepping stone into an EU career.
You do not need to have any previous experience working for an EU institution or agency. However, you are required to be a graduate who can speak at least two EU languages.
Where to find job opportunities in the EU
The EU institutions do not usually recruit to fill permanent posts. Instead, they hold annual competitions (called ‘concours’) to identify groups of qualified candidates, who can then be recruited by the institutions when they need to fill a position. These competitions are organised by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO). If an institution requires temporary staff, they will recruit to fill the positions.
To find out more about the concours and permanent positions within the EU, see the EPSO website. If you’re interested in seeking a temporary position or a traineeship, it is best to regularly visit the websites of the institutions and the EU agencies to see if they’re recruiting.
Europeanmovement.ie also has useful guides to finding employment in the EU, as well as a list of many EU jobs and traineeships.
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