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 will be visiting a number of universities across the UK in 2017 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.
The UK’s relationship with the rest of the world has rarely been so complex - or so interesting. Across the globe, the UK faces both challenges and opportunities. The FCO has teams working on everything from crisis in Syria, to helping British nationals in distress overseas, to creating new opportunities for British business, particularly in the fast growing economies, as well as managing a global network of posts overseas.
This is a unique opportunity to be right at the heart of the FCO’s work and to understand what it takes to run an effective global organisation. You will participate fully in the work of the FCO Department into which you are placed and have an opportunity to influence how policy is made and delivered.
Your placement will offer you an in-depth insight into the work of your host FCO Department and plenty of opportunities to learn more about, and experience, the wider FCO and to develop your skills. As we cannot necessarily match placements to academic background, they are most suitable for recent graduates looking for general FCO work experience, not specific career related experience or experience relevant to ongoing academic studies.
If successful with your application, you will be placed into a friendly and supportive team, where everyone is encouraged to seek out development opportunities; depending on circumstances, these could include cover in ministerial offices, temporary secondments to crisis teams and job shadowing in other Departments within the FCO.
For further information and to apply (you must be a graduate with at least a 2:2 degree (first degree) expected or awarded by summer 2017), please visit capitaras.co.uk/fco
The closing date: Midnight on Tuesday 18th April 2017.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Research Analyst
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit was established over 50 years ago. It provides highly expert advice to policy makers. We are looking for someone who will bring expertise in nuclear physics and knowledge of the history of the development of nuclear weapons and arms control to the heart of policy-making.
Join us and you will provide swift advice in response to international events and in depth analysis to inform strategy. You will also work collaboratively with other specialists and analysts across the UK Government. The role is essential to ensuring that policy-making draws on the best expertise available, and to enable that through translating highly technical scientific issues into analysis accessible to non-scientist readers.
You will also represent the UK Government at specialist meetings, including with the academic and scientific community in the UK and expert counterparts from across the globe.
For more information and to apply please visit: Capitasras
Closing Date: Midnight on Thursday 6th April 2017
Chief Executive Officer Wilton Park
Wilton Park is an independent Executive Agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and is a world renowned centre for discussion where leading figures meet to advance policy on key global issues. We organise a multitude of events and conferences which attract over 3,000 people annually, bringing together leading representatives from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, academia, business, civil society, the military and the media. Our mission is to support the British Government in the resolution of global foreign policy challenges by bringing together the best possible range of individuals from around the world and from a variety of sectors.
As Chief Executive you will bring a clear interest in this area of work, with an authentic leadership style that will enable you to strengthen the relationship that we have established with the FCO, and the rest of Government (both here and internationally), whilst ensuring an appropriate level of independence. This is a complex and often ambiguous landscape - you will need to understand it quickly in order to become a credible leader within it. You will bring a track record of highly effective senior stakeholder engagement, and the financial acumen to fulfil the accounting officer element of the role. You will also be able to bring innovation and creativity to ensure that Wilton Park develops its commercial opportunities and maintains the international credibility that it has developed over the years. This is a unique challenge and one that needs a strong and highly effective leader.
For more information and to apply please visit: GatenbySanderson
Closing Date: Midnight on Monday 17th April 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 and are published on this page. Please note, the application windows for each of the Government schemes vary and the relevant website should be checked for further details.
The recruitment campaigns for our 2016 schemes have now ended. Please see below for details of the schemes we offered.
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.