Working at the European Commission (EC) is a dream for many tech professionals. After all, it’s one of the most prestigious institutions worldwide. For this reason, being hired can be a challenging process. In this blog post, we explore how to get a job at the EC, the different types of employment, and the benefits of being part of this institution.
The European Union world
The EC is the executive branch of the European Union (EU) and it’s responsible for proposing and implementing EU laws and policies. In order to join the EC, you need to apply on their website for a specific position within one of the departments. These positions are usually open to citizens of the EU member states.
We are not going to lie – it’s a competitive market. The selection process is rigorous and involves several stages. Normally it includes a written test and an interview that will assess your knowledge of EU policy and your ability to work in a multilingual and multicultural environment. The selection procedure will be based on the results of the previous, as well as your qualifications and experience.
Most of the job openings require a good level of knowledge of the EU institutions, and policies. You should have a good level of fluency in at least two official EU languages, besides your mother tongue. If you have the qualifications and a strong interest in EU policy, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career opportunity.
The different employee statuses at the European Commission
When joining the EC, there are different types of employment status, each with its own unique terms and conditions. Some of the most common types of employment status include:
- Temporary Agents: Employed on a fixed-term contract, typically for a period of five years. Contracts can be renewed, but the maximum duration of service is 6 years. Temporary agents are typically hired to fill specific roles within the EC and may be required to work in different departments or locations;
- Contract Staff: Employed on a fixed-term contract, but typically for a shorter period of time than temporary agents. Usually hired to perform specific tasks or projects, rather than to fill a specific role;
- Permanent Staff: Employed on an open-ended contract, and are usually appointed to specific roles within the EC. Typically hired to fill roles that require a high level of expertise or specialized skills. Permanent staff are also eligible for a wide range of benefits, such as pension and health insurance;
- Functionaries: Carry out the tasks and activities of the European Union. Work for a period of five years and may be re-appointed for one or more additional periods of five years;
- National Experts: Appointed directly by member states to a fixed–term contract of two–to–three years to carry out the tasks and activities of the European Union.
- External Experts/Service providers: Not employees of the EC but hired to provide specialized knowledge or skills for specific projects or tasks. Usually hired on a consultancy or freelance basis.
- Interns/Trainees: In case you are still studying or at an early stage of your career, the EC also offers internships and traineeships for students and recent graduates. These opportunities can provide valuable experience and be a good way to get your foot in the door and increase your chances of getting a permanent position in the future.
How is the application process and what’s the EPSO test?
Candidates go through a selection process conducted by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO), the EU‘s recruitment agency. The application process assesses whether candidates are suitable for the positions. According to the EPSO website, the application process includes 6 steps:
- Pre-selection stage: This stage involves the evaluation of candidates’ application documents and completion of the EPSO test*.
- Written exam: This is a multiple–choice exam that tests knowledge of the EU, its policies, and its institutions.
- Assessment center: This is an evaluation of candidates’ skills and competencies.
- Oral exam: Candidates are interviewed by a panel of experts.
- Selection board: Candidates are assessed by a selection board.
- Final selection: The final selection of candidates is made by a selection board of the European Commission.
* The EPSO test is a multiple-choice test that assesses candidates’ knowledge, skills, and competencies for the roles of the European Union‘s institutions, agencies, and bodies. The exam is divided into two parts: a general knowledge exam which tests the candidate‘s knowledge of the EU, its policies, and its institutions, and a specific knowledge exam which tests the candidate‘s knowledge of the area of expertise they are being tested for.
The benefits of being a European Commission employee
Working at the European Commission is not only prestigious and beneficial to build your career, but also comes with some interesting benefits:
- Competitive salary: the salary that is comparable to, or higher than, those in similar positions in the public sector;
- Generous vacation time: employees have 25 days of paid vacation per year, in addition to public holidays;
- Flexible working hours: European Commission employees have the option of flexible working hours, which can include part-time, teleworking, and job sharing;
- Health and pension benefits: access to comprehensive health insurance and pension plans;
- Professional development: access to a wide range of training and development opportunities, as well as opportunities for career advancement;
- International working environment: opportunity to work in a multilingual and multicultural environment;
- Job security: employees have a fixed-term contract and enjoy a high level of job security, as well as protection against discrimination in the workplace;
- Relocation: employees may be eligible for financial assistance to help cover the costs of relocating to another EU country;
- Childcare: access to childcare facilities and financial assistance to help cover the cost of childcare;
- International assignments: employees may have the opportunity to work on international assignments, either within the EU or outside;
How to be a European Commission IT contractor or consultant?
Did you know that more than 2000 IT consultants work at the EC as Service providers? This happens because the European Commission needs IT professionals to maintain, support, improve and develop their IT systems. It helps to run a better and more interconnected Europe.
The recruitment process is relatively easier compared to the employment process. Usually, it takes two interviews and lasts one month. Currently, the bigger framework contract currently active is the DIGIT-TM II. This 1.1 Billion Euro framework contract intends to subcontract around 2.000 IT professionals in the next 4 years. We have previously written about how we connect consultants with the European Commission so check it if you want to apply to the EC.
Interested in joining the European Commission? Let us give you a hand!
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Besides, we help IT professionals connect to the delivery managers of many different companies. This increases their chances to get a job at the European Commission.