Civil Service Manager

Job Description:

Civil Service managers work in government departments, managing teams that establish policies and provide public services.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your department. You could:

  • lead a team to develop policies, products and services
  • prioritise work and plan resources
  • make sure projects are completed on time and on budget
  • manage relationships with other departments and partner organisations
  • make sure policies meet legal guidelines
  • draft briefings for senior colleagues and ministers
  • manage contracts
  • oversee communications sent out by the department
  • mentor and develop staff


You’ll need:

  • business management skills
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Civil Service Manager, there are no specific  subjects that are mandatory. However, strong educational qualifications, as well as specific skills and experiences, are typically required for management positions in the civil service. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. English Language: Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential for managers, as they are often responsible for communicating policies, strategies, and decisions to their team, as well as liaising with stakeholders.
  2. Mathematics (Maths): Basic numeracy skills are important for tasks like budgeting, financial management, and data analysis.
  3. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computers, software, and office applications is crucial, as managers often rely on technology for tasks like data analysis, reporting, and communication.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme


You may be able to start in the Civil Service, for example, as a higher executive officer.

Each department sets its own entry requirements, which often includes a university qualification. As an existing employee, you may be able to apply without a degree, though this varies between departments.

After completing the scheme and gaining experience, you could apply for a management role as vacancies become available.

Direct Application

You’ll be expected to have relevant management experience to apply directly for jobs.

You’ll also need technical skills relevant to the department you wish to join. For example, as a human resources (HR) manager, you’ll need experience of using HR information systems, or project management skills for project management roles.

You’ll be assessed on your skills, knowledge and behaviours that fit in with the values of the Civil Service, as part of the application process.

Other Routes

If you’re a graduate, postgraduate or in your final year of university, you can apply for a place on the Civil Service. Competition for places is very strong, so a degree with a higher grade and work experience will help you.

Your degree can be in any subject, though some Civil Service departments may prefer a degree in a subject that is relevant to their work, for example economics for the Treasury.

After completing the scheme, you’ll be offered a role within a department. You would usually start as an executive officer or higher executive officer before you can move into a management job.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-40 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm attending events or appointments.

You could work in an office. You may need to wear smart business clothes.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress through the senior Civil Service management structure, becoming deputy director or director of a department. You could also become a senior policy adviser or permanent secretary, setting departmental strategy and supporting government ministers.

You could use your management skills and experience to work for other public sector organisations or move into the private sector.