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.


Research Analyst, Multilateral Research Group

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for promoting British interests overseas and provides support to British citizens and businesses throughout the world. Our work focuses on security at home and abroad; promoting British business in a global marketplace; and providing consular support to British nationals overseas.

Our Multilateral Research Group delivers research and analysis on the politics and institutional development of key multilateral organisations (such as the UN, OSCE and Commonwealth), as well as many of the issues dealt with by them. In this role, you will provide policy-focused research, analysis and advice on international institutions and themes, particularly focusing on four key areas: politics, processes and institutions of the United Nations; conflict; the international human rights framework; and key themes in international politics, such as defence, sanctions and war crimes. It’s vital work.

You will be an opinion-former and advisor to everyone from Desk Officers to Directors, Ambassadors and Ministers, tackling a varied portfolio and influencing policy at the heart of Government. It calls for an individual who can work collaboratively, generate fresh perspectives while at the same time engaging with pre-existing knowledge bases and sources of expertise.

For more information about the role and how to apply go to:

Closing Date: Midday on Monday 9th November 2015

Digital Transformation Manager

£43,967 - £56,786 per annum London, Fixed Term 2 year Contract

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for promoting British interests overseas and provides support to British citizens and businesses throughout the world. Our work focuses on security at home and abroad; promoting British business in a global marketplace; and providing consular support to British nationals overseas.

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.

Pulling all this together will demand excellent product and project management skills, plus experience of Agile and an understanding of Prince 2. As you roll-out and embed new systems and technologies, you’ll need to work effectively and persuasively with colleagues at all levels of the organisation, so strong interpersonal skills are crucial. Your seamless integration of new technologies and procedures will ensure that FCO staff using internal tools will enjoy the kind of high quality experience they might expect from external internet applications. Of course, the role is not without its challenges – you’ll need to be flexible, adaptable and resilient in order to manage the evolution of our digital agenda. But the role also presents an exciting and exhilarating challenge, and a unique opportunity to conceive, drive and define a programme of major innovation and business-critical cultural change.

To apply please visit

Closing date: midday on Monday 2nd November 2015

Reference Number: FCO0033

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.