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 160 countries.
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. The FCO regularly scores highly in surveys of “employers graduates would most like to work for”. For example, we have moved up to 4th place in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2016-17.
The FCO employs around 14,000 staff around the world. Roughly one 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, eg 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 the latest information and also look out for details about events taking place close to you from your university careers service.
Joining the FCO’s new data science team, you will pioneer and promote the better use of data in the Foreign Office. By advising a range of stakeholders on the sound use of data, you will ensure that data science is integrated into wider Whitehall work and used in the most innovative and impactful way. You will be at the heart of the FCO, helping shape the way in which we deliver policy both at home and overseas. Understanding, responding to and delivering on the needs of your customers, you will build and maintain strong networks within the FCO, with partners across government and in the private sector, both nationally and internationally. We would like you to work across a range of themes, including influence and networks, forecasting, knowledge management, open source intelligence and evaluation of FCO policies and campaigns. This is a unique opportunity to substantially influence the FCO’s work.
Find out more information and how to apply from Capita Ras.
Closing date: Midnight on Monday 3 July 2017
The FCO’s Digital Transformation Unit is a small, multidisciplinary team empowered to transform the FCO’s internal and external services. Joining them as Product Manager, you will champion innovation as you help to deliver the transformation of the FCO’s public-facing services and implement changes to internal software and systems. The FCO’s digital and IT strategies are ambitious and aim to enhance all stages of policy process, as well as give our staff the tools they need to operate in an increasingly interconnected world. Day-to-day you will maintain live services, provide direction and support, put together business cases and budgets and lead multidisciplinary teams in the delivery of digital services. That’s not all. You will also drive change. The role is an exciting and exhilarating challenge that will see you conceive, drive and define innovation and cultural change and build digital capability. The successful candidate will have access to a wide range of training and the chance to become part of a vibrant cross-government digital community, with many events and other opportunities for professional development.
Flexible, adaptable and resilient, you are an experienced web professional with a proven track record in managing high-profile audience-facing websites. Confident and experienced in running live services and working on medium-sized projects from inception to delivery, you will be able to show us where you have procured skills and software on the open market and worked with suppliers to deliver results. We would also like to see where you have delivered change activities, working effectively with stakeholders at all levels to effect change. Strong business analysis skills and experience using user research and data to guide product development is essential.
Find out more information from Capita Ras.
Closing Date – Midnight on Monday 3 July 2017
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.
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, the FCO offers 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.
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.
All of our work experience schemes are centrally run by either the FCO or other government departments (such as the Civil Service Fast Stream and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). 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 and the relevant website should be checked for further details.
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.
FCO Internship Schemes
In 2016 we offered the following work experience schemes:
The Civil Service Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP). The scheme gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to see what a career in the Civil Service is like. Candidates must be from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, or be socio-economically disadvantaged or have a disability (a 6-9 week summer placement for 15 students).
The Civil Service Work Experience Programme supporting high achieving students from low income backgrounds seeking to reach top level universities and professions (a 1-week summer placement for 5 college age (16-18) students).
The Government Economic Service summer student placement scheme aimed at economics students who are seriously considering a career in the Government Economic Service (GES) after graduation (an 8-week summer placement for 3 students).
The Government Economic Service sandwich student placement scheme aimed at economic students who are seriously considering a career in the Government Economic Service (GES) after graduation (a 12-month placement for 4 students).
The Movement to Work Scheme providing young people who are not in employment, education or training with work experience. (2 week placement for 5 people)
The FCO’s Graduate Internship programme for recent graduates from any academic background interested in developing a career in international relations (up to 9 months placement for 43 recent graduates, from June 2016 to March 2017). Graduates were recruited in spring 2016.
You may be interested in reading comments from some of our recent summer interns:
Quotes from recent Summer Interns (MS Word Document, 23.6KB)
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.