24 Mar 2021

Myth Busters about getting a Job with the Civil Service

Did you know that you don’t need to speak Irish to get a Civil Servant job & you don’t always have to be Irish either. You certainly don’t need to “know” someone and not all roles require a college degree. So what are the Myths and how do you get a job with a Civil Service Role?

Myth Busters about getting a Job with the Civil Service


Myth 1: Do you need to be an Irish citizen to be a Civil Servant?

False: The vast majority of roles in the Civil and Public Service are open to European Economic Area (EEA) citizens. There are some roles where you have to be an Irish Citizen such as roles in the Diplomatic Stream of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For information in relation to a specific campaign you will need to refer to the information booklet for that campaign.

Myth 2: Do you need to know someone in order to get into the Civil Service?

False: Recruitment campaigns are open, objective and fair and we pride ourselves in ensuring that everyone is treated to the same professional, high standards at all stages of the process. All candidates are asked to complete the same standardised assessments, whether it be tests, exercises or an interview, and all candidates are scored in an objective and standardised manner. So bottom line, everyone is treated the same regardless of 'who you are' or 'who you know'. Any candidate that is successful, is successful based entirely on their own merit.

Myth 3: Do you have to be fresh out of college (within 3 years) to apply for Civil Service Roles?

False: There are no time or age limits on being an applicant for the Civil Service. For some roles like Administrative Officer role you may be required to hold a first or second class honours degree, but there are other roles that do not require college degrees.

Myth 4: Do you need to speak Irish to apply for the Civil Service?

False: Being able to speak Irish or have an Irish language qualification is NOT a requirement to apply for a role in the Civil Service. Although, if you are an Irish speaker, there are a number of specific opportunities to work with Irish across the Civil Service. In addition, across many roles, if you do speak Irish or have Irish language skills, you may find there is a demand for your assistance from colleagues in your Department/Office.

Myth 5: Once placed in a Department, are you there for life?

False: Mobility is very important in the career path of a Civil Servant. It is a fast paced environment with quite a bit of movement, people coming in, moving up and moving across. Regularly, there are opportunities arising within and across Departments and Offices, where people can build new experiences, skills and develop their career.


Other Information about Civil Service Jobs

 How can I get a job in the public sector and civil service?

There are set procedures for the selection process for civil service and public sector jobs. All public sector jobs have to be advertised in the public domain. This includes newspapers as well as government websites such as the Public Appointments Service and the the Northern Ireland Civil Service recruitment website.

For those who are interested in traineeships, the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) organises competitions for roles within EU institutions. These include jobs as administrators, economists, conference interpreters, translators and lawyers with EU institutions. For example, you can apply for a traineeship at the European Commission. These traineeships are offered twice a year and competition is fierce.


What are the different areas of work?

Each area in the public and civil service concentrates on a specific area of policy or service, such as education, transport, pensions or fraud investigation, and employs people for their specialist knowledge.

In the civil service, you may work in a Government Department. Departments are headed by a minister or, in the case of non-ministerial departments, by a senior civil servant. These departments are responsible for devising policies and ensuring that they are implemented.

Another area where you may find yourself working is in a government agency: an independent organisation that carries out the policies decided upon by government. You may also find yourself working in non-departmental public bodies, such as a regional development agency and national authority. These are not part of government departments and are not staffed by civil servants.


What are the salaries in the public sector and civil service?

Salaries are dependent on your entry level and normally increase depending on your length of service. Grade titles and scales vary depending on where you work in the public sector.


What qualifications and skills do I need to work in the public sector and civil service?

You may need a first or second class honours degree. For European traineeships, you will need fluency in an additional European language. The specific skills needed will depend on the area you are working in, but general skills you will find useful are problem solving skills, communication (written and verbal), teamwork and an ability to work on your own initiative and take ownership of projects. For some jobs, you may also need research and analytical skills and a strong numerical ability.


What are the opportunities for professional development?

The public sector and civil service jobs have set grades which you move up, based on your length of service. There are also opportunities to move internally within the public service, gaining more responsibility and money along the way.

There is no typical career path, however, because of the diverse nature of the profession and the range of jobs, roles and departments. People will tend to pursue different routes, depending on their own strengths and interests. Movement between internal departments and between different local councils/authorities is quite common and can be a good way of gaining broader experience and advancing your career. It is possible to work your way up into senior management positions, although promotion depends not only on your ability, but also the size of the organisation and the frequency of vacancies.


What is working life like?

Some jobs may involve spending days in an office, mainly in front of a computer; some will include lots of meetings with clients; others might be spent outdoors with a group of visitors. If you like variety in your work, you can choose a position that encompasses a range of tasks. Depending on your role you may need to work after hours, but the normal working time is 9.00–5.00.

Public sector workplaces are usually unionised and you can expect good conditions of employment with opportunities for flexible working arrangements, career breaks and job sharing. There are often good training opportunities and encouragement for furthering your education, including study and exam leave. There is generally better job security than in the private sector.


All Public Jobs currently open, can be found HERE

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