Working for FCO

Our careers for generalist and specialist staff: recruitment policies, university visits, current vacancies, work experience and internship schemes.

The FCO is the UK government department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world, through the FCO in London and our network of 270 diplomatic posts in 168 countries and territories.

We employ a diverse range of talented people capable of delivering to a high standard, often under pressure and sometimes in difficult places. We want the modern FCO to reflect the very best of 21st century Britain and encourage applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of background or circumstances. Our Diversity and Equality Report 2016 includes data on the equality impact of the Foreign Office’s employment practices and activities.

In return, we guarantee a fascinating, personally rewarding career at the centre of world events. We regularly score highly in surveys of ‘employers graduates would most like to work for’. The Civil Service has moved up to 2nd place in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017-18.

Our staff

The FCO employs around 12,600 staff around the world. Roughly a third is made up of UK-based British Civil Servants whose careers typically include work in the UK and postings overseas; and around two thirds are employed locally by a British Diplomatic mission overseas (such as an Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate). Applicants for these roles should be based in that country and usually need to be able to work in the main local language. For information on our local staff vacancies, please visit the web page for the country you are interested in working in.

Recruitment policy: generalists and specialists

All appointments to the FCO are made in strict accordance with the key recruitment principles of the Civil Service Commission.

Recruitment into the FCO’s UK-based workforce is normally either as a generalist (i.e. into the Diplomatic or Home Civil Service cadres where staff rotate between a variety of roles, including overseas), or as a specialist (i.e. taking up a specific role requiring specialist skills, e.g. research analysts, lawyers).

The Civil Service-wide recruitment freeze introduced in May 2010 limits new appointments to frontline and business-critical jobs only, which normally means specialist roles. This has generally restricted FCO generalist recruitment permitted under the freeze to the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream. Diplomatic Service Economists are also recruited through the Government Economic Service Fast Stream.

Visits to universities

Our staff visited a number of universities across the UK in spring 2017 as part of the FCO University Roadshow, to explain what we do and how rewarding a career in the FCO can be. Please follow our @fcocareers Twitter account (#BeForeignOffice and #FastStream) for updates on the FCO careers and also look out for details about events taking place close to you from your university careers service.

Current vacancies

Senior Product Manager

The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) is leading digital transformation at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO); your work will contribute to the delivery of services to British citizens overseas requiring emergency assistance. As a Senior Product Manager, you will devise and iterate our consular services product backlogs and roadmap, work with external technical suppliers, and champion for user needs and work closely with operational and policy teams. This is a fantastic opportunity to own the end-to-end product development process and have the opportunity to develop a career in government digital as part of the wider Digital, Data and Technology community.

Find out more about the Senior Product Manager role and apply by Monday 20 August 2018

Associate Product Manager

The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) is leading digital transformation at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). As an Associate Product Manager, you will champion innovation as you help to deliver the transformation of the FCO’s public-facing services and implement changes to supporting internal software and systems. You will be responsible for maintaining live services, provide direction and support, put together business cases, budgets and work in multidisciplinary teams delivering digital services globally.

Find out more about the Associate Product Manager role and apply by Monday 20 August 2018

Business Administration Apprenticeship (Level 3) (London)

We want the modern Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to reflect the very best of 21st century Britain and we are looking for Business Administration apprentices Level 3 to work across a wide range of directorates from HR to Communications, from the Parliamentary Directorate to the Africa Directorate. Our Business Administration Scheme offers a structured learning journey and is ideal for those who wish to gain skills and experience or for those looking to develop existing skills within the business and administration sector.

Based in the heart of Westminster, and with a total package of over £24,000 per annum our apprenticeship scheme is a great place to start.

Find out more about the Business Administration Apprenticeship (Level 3) role and apply by Monday 27 August 2018

Business Administration Apprenticeship (Level 2) (Milton Keynes)

Our Central Milton Keynes office provides Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Corporate Services function. The ‘engine room’ of the FCO, we provide transactional and operational support to all other directorates across the world. Our vision is to become the best provider of corporate services in central government. We want the modern FCO to reflect the very best of 21st century Britain.

From Operations and Finance Information Management to the uniqueness of the Legalisation Office, our Business Administration scheme offers a structured learning journey and is ideal for those who wish to gain skills and experience or for those looking to develop existing skills within the business and administration sector. We employ a diverse range of talented people capable of delivering to a high standard. With a total package of over £20,000 per annum our apprenticeship scheme is a great place to start.

Find out more about the Business Administration Apprenticeship (Level 2) role and apply by Monday 27 August 2018

Local staff vacancies overseas

If you are looking for information on local staff vacancies at our offices overseas please visit the web page for the particular country you are interested in working in.

Work experience

The FCO aims to recruit a talented and diverse workforce which reflects the society we serve. In order to generate interest in FCO careers from a broader applicant base, we offer a range of work experience opportunities each year. We hope that by giving individuals from a range of backgrounds the opportunity to sample working at the FCO they may consider the FCO as a future employer, as well as gaining beneficial work experience.

Alongside our own Graduate Internship, we offer placements under schemes run by other government departments (such as the Civil Service Fast Stream and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). Our work experience opportunities, which are paid, are mainly focused on attracting individuals from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in our workforce, and on those who bring skills which we require to achieve our objectives. All work experience placements are awarded strictly on merit, after a competitive application process. In order to ensure our opportunities are accessible to all those who are eligible, we do not offer any work experience opportunities to individuals on an ad-hoc basis. We do not have the resources to acknowledge or respond to speculative applications.

Our annual programme of schemes is reviewed each year; details of the FCO’s central scheme are published on this page. The application windows for each of the government schemes vary, so you should check the relevant website for further details.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or sign up to our RSS feeds.

The FCO’s external recruitment campaigns are run separately from any work experience or internship scheme: work experience does not in any way guarantee future employment with the FCO. Our recruitment for permanent employment is merit-based in strict accordance with the key recruitment principles of the Civil Service Commission. Current or former interns do not receive any preferential treatment in the selection processes.

International secondments

The UK supports international efforts to prevent violent conflict, to resolve existing conflicts, and to build peace in post-conflict situations.

In support of this, the FCO seconds civilian experts and police (serving and retired officers) to international missions run by the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Find out more about international secondments with the FCO, for serving and retired police, and civilian experts.