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Diplomatic Service officer

Diplomatic Service officers help to promote and protect British interests, businesses and citizens overseas.

Annual Salary

£32,000 to £46,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: on call; attending events or appointments

Future employment

There will be 2.9% more Diplomatic Service officer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your role.

You could:

  • monitor and analyse overseas events
  • develop policies and strategies towards different countries
  • deal with press and communications at home and abroad
  • give consular support to UK citizens abroad
  • process UK visa applications
  • handle queries and give advice
  • work on official documents and give admin support to other embassy staff

Working environment

You could work in an office or be based overseas.

You can get into this job through:

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

You could take a degree before applying to join a graduate training scheme. Most subjects are accepted.

The Summer Internship Programme and the Civil Service Care Leavers Internship Scheme, offer undergraduates an insight into working in the Civil Service.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

If you already work in the Civil Service, you can apply to join the Diplomatic Service, depending on your skills and experience.

Volunteering and work experience

It will help when applying for jobs if you have some relevant work and life experience. For example, a proven interest in other countries and culture, international relations or a foreign language.

Direct application

You can apply directly to employers if you have some of the relevant skills and knowledge needed for this role.

To join as a diplomatic administrative officer you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C). If you apply to become an operational or policy officer, you'll usually need A levels or equivalent qualifications.

You can find out more about entry to these roles from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Other routes

If you're a graduate with at least a lower second class degree, you can apply to the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream programme, which leads to senior management posts in the service.

You can also apply through the Government Economic Service Fast Stream to join the Diplomatic Service as an economist. You'll need an upper second class degree in an economics-related subject to do this.

Further information

You can find out more about working in the Diplomatic Service through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Civil Service Careers.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

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You'll have access to a wide range of Civil Service training, designed to prepare you for your first overseas posting. This includes foreign language training.

You'll be encouraged to identify your own training needs as part of an appraisal and staff development programme.

After 2 years, you can apply to join the Fast Stream programme if your manager thinks you have the potential for senior management.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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