How to become a Civil Service Executive Officer Job Application. Read our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career in the UK.
What does a Civil Service Executive Officer do?
Executive officers are the first level of management in the civil service.
As an executive officer, you could work in any of the 170 civil service departments and agencies that deal with developing policies and delivering services to the public. All departments and agencies employ people at executive officer (EO) grade, although job titles can vary widely.
Your exact duties would depend on the department you worked for, but could include:
- managing a team of administrative officers
- being responsible for motivating, training and appraising team members
- training in a specific area of work such as tax or immigration control
- handling a caseload
- applying complex laws and procedures to deal with problems and enquiries
- using computer systems and databases
- preparing and presenting reports.
In a full-time job you would work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, usually on a flexitime system. Most departments work standard office hours, although some provide a service during evenings and weekends. Part-time work and job sharing are common.
You would be office-based, although there may be some travel to attend meetings, training courses and other organisations.
How much does a Civil Service Executive Officer earn?
Salary and pay information:
Salaries at EO grade are between around £24,000 and £27,000 a year.
Salaries are higher in London. There may be extra allowances for working unsocial hours.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You could join a civil service department in an administrative grade and work your way up, or you could be recruited directly as an executive officer.
Each department organises its own recruitment and sets its own entry requirements. You may need two A levels or equivalent qualifications for some jobs at EO grade, but in many cases you will not be asked for any formal qualifications. Instead, when you apply you would go through various stages, which might include:
- filling in an application form based on your skills and life experience
- taking a written test to check your level of English and maths
- passing more selection tests and an interview.
If you have a first or second class honours degree, you can apply to the Fast Stream Development Programme. This is a four-year training scheme that leads to senior management posts. Your degree can be in any subject, although some departments may prefer degrees in subjects that are relevant to their work.
Competition for places on the Fast Stream is very strong, and you must pass a series of selection tests and interviews. Fast Stream is usually only open to UK nationals. See the Civil Service website for more information on the Fast Stream.
For all jobs you must also meet the nationality requirement – all jobs are open to British nationals and around 75% are also open to Commonwealth citizens or European Union nationals. You can find more information on the Civil Service website.
Training and Development
You will be trained on the job, learning from experienced staff and attending in-house training courses.
You may be able to take nationally-recognised work-based qualifications such as the distance learning Foundation Degree in Government.
You will be encouraged to identify your own training needs as part of an appraisal and staff development programme.
After at least two years’ service, you could apply to join the Fast Stream programme if your manager thinks you have the potential for senior management.
Skills and Knowledge
- management and leadership skills
- excellent written and spoken communication skills
- decision making ability
- good organisational and time management skills
- problem solving ability
- the ability to interpret figures and written information
- computer and administrative skills
- budget awareness
- good judgement and the ability to apply rules fairly
- respect for confidentiality.
The civil service is one of the country’s largest employers, employing around half a million people all over the UK.
Jobs are advertised in the local and national press, Jobcentre Plus, and on the Civil Service and individual departments’ websites.
There is a clear promotion structure, which is linked to the appraisal system. Fast Stream recruits can expect to reach senior level within about five years.