PAS | Civil Service Recruitment information and job descriptions

Civil Service

Overview of Civil Service

The Civil Service has two basic tasks

  • To assist the Government in policy formation across Departments
  • To implement Government decisions through the delivery of services to the public in a prompt and efficient manner

There are currently 15 Government Departments. Each department is staffed by civil servants.

Range of Jobs

The Civil Service offers people the opportunity to work in a wide variety of roles, across a number of Departments. There are also opportunities to work nationwide as many Government offices are based throughout the country. In some cases there may be opportunities to work abroad.

There are a diverse range of jobs available at different levels in the Civil Service. Clerical staff carry out routine work on files, answer phone or email queries from the public and generally assist Middle and Senior Managers. Management grades deal with more difficult casework and are responsible for implementing schemes. A number of graduates are often recruited at Administrative Officer level to formulate and amend policy. There are also professionals recruited to a wide range of specialisms. Senior managers manage and deliver results, giving leadership and direction to the organisation. They need to be able to work effectively with a diverse range of people including Ministers, other civil servants, people from the wider public service and the private and voluntary sectors.


All roles in the Civil Service are suited to individuals who want to contribute to the general good and are committed to a sense of service to the public. Overall to join the Civil Service, you will need to be conscientious and resilient, demonstrate good communication, analytical and decision-making skills. Differing skill sets will be required for different positions.

We suggest that you try the sample tests available on this site. The results will provide useful feedback. This will help you reflect on the skills and attributes needed for the various positions and how you might match them or at least how you might improve your skills in your area of interest.

Entry Points

There are three streams in the Civil Service

  • Administrative grades - general service grades or generalists who may serve in any Department and Departmental Grades (i.e. specific to certain departments e.g. Junior Diplomat in Department of Foreign Affairs; Inspector of Taxes)
  • Professional grades - professional civil servants are graduates in particular specialisms. Generally they will remain in that specialism throughout their civil service career, working their way up the ranks. In addition they are also entitled to apply for open promotions for administrative positions throughout the civil service
  • Industrial civil servants - e.g. gardeners, craftsmen etc

The entry qualifications for junior management level, e.g. Executive Officer requires minimum level 5 (NQAI Framework). Graduate entry level requires minimum level 7/8 (NQAI Framework) (Administrative Officer/Junior Diplomat). Entry at higher levels, including the top management grades, both administrative and specialist, will be dependent on the level of work experience of the candidate and his/her educational qualifications.

The Career Path for General Service Civil Servants

  • Top Management
  • Secretary General
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Senior Management
  • Principal
  • Assistant Principal
  • Middle Management/Graduate Entry
  • Higher Executive Officer
  • Administrative Officer/Junior Diplomat
  • Junior Management
  • Executive Officer
  • Clerical
  • Clerical Officer

All grades may be recruited by competition open to all and by advancement through internal promotion (with the exception of posts at Secretary General and Assistant Secretary levels).

For information on civil service salary scales, go to the website of the Department of Finance:

Note: This information is intended as a guide only and is not intended to be a legal instrument.

Professional & Technical Roles in the Civil Service

There is a wide range of professional and technical positions in the Civil Service, the wider Public Service and Local Authorities.

Professional and Technical Positions in the Civil Service include

  • Accountancy/Audit
  • Agricultural Science
  • Architecture
  • Barrister
  • Chemistry and Applied Science
  • Engineering
  • Inspector
  • Law Clerk
  • Marine Biologist
  • Planner
  • Psychologist
  • Scientist
  • Solicitor
  • Veterinary
  • Surgeon

For jobs in this sector, search here;

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