Working for FCO

Our careers for generalist and specialist staff: recruitment policy, 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 around the world.

We employ a diverse range of talented people capable of delivering to a high standard, often under pressure or in difficult places. 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 are currently ranked 9th out of the top 300 most popular graduate employers.

We want the modern FCO to reflect the very best of 21st century Britain and encourage applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of personal background or circumstances. Our 2014 Diversity and Equality Report includes data on the equality impact of the Foreign Office’s employment practices and activities.

All appointments to the FCO are made through open and fair competition, in strict accordance with the key recruitment principles of the Civil Service Commission.

Our staff

The FCO employs around 14,000 staff around the world. Roughly one third are UK-based British Civil Servants whose career typically includes work in the UK and postings overseas; and around two thirds are employed locally by a British Diplomatic Post overseas (such as an Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate). Applicants for these roles should be based in that country and usually will 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

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 many overseas), or as a Specialist (i.e. taking up a specific role requiring specialist skills, eg economists, 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 Civil Service Fast Stream.. Diplomatic Service Economists are also recruited through the Government Economic Service fast stream.

Vacancies

Digital Transformation Manager (Two roles available)

  • Based in London
  • 2 Year Fixed Term, Full time
  • £43,967 - £56,339 per annum plus London Location Allowance £4,520

Our Digital Transformation Unit is staffed by a crack squad of highly skilled, multidisciplinary professionals tasked with transforming the way that we deliver services, policy and communications. It’s a small team with a big vision: the transformation of the FCO’s internal and external services via the use of agile and responsive digital technologies. As we work towards the digital delivery of all our services, we aim to enhance every stage of the policy lifecycle, from research to implementation, by embedding the advanced technologies that our people need to operate in an increasingly interconnected world.

As Digital Transformation Manager, you’ll transform the FCO’s public-facing services, driving change as you help to build our digital capacity. A web professional with extensive experience of delivering high-quality, high-profile, audience-facing websites, you’ll manage the project lifecycle from inception to delivery, then continue to monitor the project once it’s in the public domain. As you drive change to our internal systems and software you’ll provide direction and support to those managing the internal transformation projects, advocating intuitive user-focused design, agile project methodologies and the use of diverse, low-cost technologies and suppliers. You’ll also be writing or contributing to business cases and budgeting proposals in order to maintain effective services and deliver cost savings wherever possible, so procurement experience and the ability to manage suppliers and contracts are key.

For more information and to apply, please go to our Recruitment Website

Closing date for applications Midday Monday 10th August 2015

Digital Training and Up Skilling Manager

  • Based in London
  • 2 Year Fixed Term, Full time
  • £33,428 - £40,905 per annum plus London Location Allowance £4,520

Our Digital Transformation Unit is led by a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team tasked with transforming the way that we deliver services, policy and communications. The team may be small, but it has a big vision: the transformation of the FCO’s internal and external services via the use of agile, digital technologies. As we work towards the digital delivery of all our services, we aim to enhance every stage of the policy lifecycle, from research to implementation, by embedding the advanced technologies that our people need to operate in an increasingly interconnected world.

As Digital Training and Up Skilling Manager, you’ll drive innovation and professionalise the administration, transformation and continuous evaluation of digital services. With a proven background in developing and delivering a variety of digital training programmes you’ll have the credibility to roll-out and embed new systems and coach staff at all levels of our organisation. In addition to training and outreach, you’ll also commission, procure and oversee specialist training requirements drawing on the expertise of team members and running networks of digital champions. The FCO is geographically diverse, so you’ll need to be comfortable working remotely in a time-critical and politically sensitive environment. First-rate leadership and communication skills are also vital as you’ll work with other FCO and cross-government training providers to align the digital training offer to broader government and external frameworks.

For more information and to apply, please go to our Recruitment Website

Closing date for applications Midday Monday 10th August 2015

Category Lead – Estates, Security & FM

  • Based in London
  • Permanent, Full time
  • £43,967 - £68,539 per annum plus London Location Allowance £4,520

Joining the FCO in this exciting and critical new post, you will be the lead commercial advisor to the FCO on procurement of Estates, Security and Facilities Management where your category advice will be sought by senior figures within the office.

Your global reach will cover more than 200 countries and you will shape and influence the way the FCO manages its property portfolio, together with a wide range of services, whilst at the same time, taking full account of their unique security concerns.

As a recognised procurement expert within the ESD category you will play a critical hands-on role in shaping the procurement strategy for the FCO as well as building and maintaining an extremely high level of category expertise. You will ensure projects are assigned the correct priority and will be a pivotal liaison point for the head of commercial advisors, to support flexible working across all categories, to support regional hub teams in these categories and to work proactively with the buying team, to ensure delivery of all projects is seamless and to the agreed standardised FCO procurement process.

For more information and to apply, please go to our Recruitment Website

Closing date for applications Midday Monday 10th August 2015

Local Staff vacancies

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, the FCO offers a range of work experience opportunities each year.

We hope that by giving individuals from diverse 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 therefore mainly focused on 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 and cannot accept speculative applications.

All of our work experience schemes are centrally run by either the FCO or other government departments (such as the Cabinet Office/Fast Stream, Department for Works and Pensions (DWP), and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (Graduate Interns)). We launch our annual programme of schemes in early Spring each year, when we publish details of the schemes on this page.

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

It is important to note that 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 and through fair and open competition, as set out by the Civil Service Commission. Interns do not receive any preferential treatment in the selection processes.

FCO Internship Schemes

In 2015 we are offering the following work experience schemes:

  1. 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 for the 2015 scheme 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).

  2. The Whitehall Social Mobility internship Programme supporting high achieving students from low income backgrounds seeking to reach top level universities and professions (a 2 week summer placement for 4 college age (16-18) students).

  3. 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 4 students).

  4. 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).

  5. The FCO’s Graduate Internship programme for recent graduates from any academic background interested in developing a career in international relations (up to 8 months placement for 30 recent graduates, from August 2015 to March 2016). Graduates were recruited through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills Graduate Talent Pool website in spring 2015.

You may be interested in reading some comments from some previous summer interns here;

Quotes from 2013 Summer Interns (PDF, 52.7KB, 2 pages)

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.