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Civil Service (UK & EU Institutions): Sector Overview

Working for the government in the United Kingdom and the European Union

Civil Service

Sector Overview

What jobs are available and how to get them

Entry routes

There are three major ways into the Civil Service

Graduate Programmes e.g. The Graduate Fast Stream

This graduate fast stream is the main training scheme for graduates, although some departments run their own schemes

Professional Entry Routes

Some departments hire people separately because they need particular skills, i.e. accountants, engineers, etc. There are also jobs suitable for graduates at government agencies

The European Civil Service

To enter the European Civil Service you need to complete a selection process called "the Concours", you will then be placed on a reserve list until an appropriate placement is available


Private companies contribute to government work by plugging gaps in the service, offering training, or providing specialist services

Local Government

Many local authorities offer training schemes for graduates and graduate level jobs.


In the UK a Civil Servant is any employee of the Crown, who's not employed in the royal household, or those employed by parliament

Civil Servants work for the government, the devolved assemblies, or the EU

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Northern Ireland Civil Service are separate institutions though recruitment procedures are shared

The Civil Service employs staff from all disciplines; including specialists in science, law, economics, business, and many other fields

The largest departments in terms of number of employees are the Department of Work and Pensions, Revenue and Customs, Justice, and Defence

Head of UK Media for the EU describes her job

Facts and Figures


Number of full-time Civil Servants in the UK


Number of Civil Servants who work in London


Decline in number of people working in the Civil Service since 2005


Number of appointments in the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2012


Number of applicants to the Civil Service Fast Stream in the same year

Source: Civil Service Numbers, Fast Stream Recruitment Report


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