Civil Service Officer

Job Description:

Civil Service executive officers work in government departments that develop policies and provide services to the public.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

What you’ll do will depend on your job role and the government department you work in. Typically, in your day to day tasks you could:

  • manage a team
  • train staff
  • apply government plans to public services
  • prepare and present reports
  • analyse data
  • communicate with the public
  • give advice to government representatives
  • manage a budget
  • handle a caseload
  • update files


You’ll need:

  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • administration & organisational skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Civil Service Officer, there are no specific  subjects that are mandatory. However, strong educational qualifications, as well as specific skills and experiences, are typically required for 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

This may vary from country to country. In the UK, however, you can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme

You could apply to join the Civil Service after doing a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree, although a university qualification is not essential.

Most subjects are accepted but public administration may offer a good general introduction to this area of work.

You could do a Civil Service higher or degree apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship qualification you work towards will depend on the role and business area you work in.

You could start as an administrative officer. After gaining experience, you could apply for a post as an executive officer when vacancies become available.

Direct Application
You can apply directly for jobs. You’ll be expected to have relevant work or life experience to do this.

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 or in your final year of university, you can apply for a place on the Fast Stream scheme. 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 science and engineering.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll work around 37 hours a week Monday to Friday. In some departments, you may need to work shifts including evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

You’ll be office-based, but you’ll travel to meetings and training courses. You might also need to visit other organisations.

For some government departments, you might need to travel or work overseas.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, there’s often the opportunity to apply for and move to jobs in different departments.

There is a clear promotion structure in the Civil Service. If you’re on the Fast Stream you can expect to reach senior level within about 5 years.