Open Recruitment to the Civil Service

Issued 19 November 2015

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD today (Thursday 19 November) welcomed progress made on the implementation of a targeted programme of open recruitment to the Civil Service. 

Action 8 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan provides for the opening up of recruitment and promotions across the Civil Service.  This includes extending the established policy of open competition for all senior management positions (Assistant Principal and above), as well as implementing practical arrangements in line with business needs to move to a model of filling all vacancies through either open competition or a Civil Service wide inter-departmental competition.

A targeted programme of recruitment commenced in 2014 to address service needs and a shortfall in key skills consistent with the maintenance of appropriate controls on public service numbers, in line with the resources available for the public service pay bill overall.

To date, open recruitment campaigns have been held for principal officer, assistant principal officer, administrative officer, junior diplomats, trainee auditors, executive officer and clerical officer grades. The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is responsible for the running of these competitions and selection processes are open to all eligible applicants who meet minimum entry criteria. 

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin T.D., said:

              “In October 2014, I announced an end to the moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service. Since then, the Public Appointments Service has undertaken a number of significant open recruitment campaigns for positions at all level across the Civil Service, addressing service needs and skills gaps, including through the recruitment of specialists in a number of areas. This will help us to ensure that we have the best possible candidates and expertise that we require”.

Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, said that:

Since July 2011 all senior posts (Assistant Secretary and Secretary General) in the Civil Service have been open to internal and external candidates. In addition, there have been open recruitment competitions for Principal Officer and Assistant Principal Officer positions, which was not the norm before – 25% of those on the Principal Officer panel and 20% of those on the Assistant Principal Officer panel are from outside the Civil Service. 25% of roles filled at Assistant Secretary level are filled from outside of the Civil Service. The statistics also show us that civil servants continue to perform well in open and inter-departmental competitions at Assistant Principal Officer and Principal Officer level. In addition, the gender balance on these panels is to be welcomed. I am also very pleased at the excellent application levels and the quality and calibre of the nearly 200 graduates that have been recruited to the Civil Service in the last two years”.



Note to Editor:

The Public Appointments Service has run over 150 open recruitment campaigns in the year to date for a range of diverse positions including solicitors and accountants, statisticians and meteorologists as well as running all general recruitment competitions for the civil and public service.

See for further information on employment opportunities.


Open Civil Service Recruitment

Grade                               Advertised       Applied             Panel                 Assigned

Clerical Officer               20/6/14             28,000               Oct 2014              1,300 +

Executive Officer          11/12/14           13,622                Q3 2015               150 to be assigned shortly

Administrative Off.      03/10/14           5,316                        Q1 2015                 75

Temp. Clerical Off.       03/03/15           14,153                                            1600 +


Open Assistant Principal (AP) Competition – Results announced on 5 November 2015

Over 1,875 people applied for this competition. The final outcome of those placed on the panel are as follows:

On Panel           Male         Female         Civil Service      External

     90                   45%             55%                   80%                20%


Open Principal Officer (PO) Competition – Results issued on 17 June 2015

On Panel           Male         Female         Civil Service      External

     164                 55%             45%                    75%                        25%

On 7 July, the Civil Service Arbitration Board, following consideration of the cases put forward by management and unions, decided that the sequence of promotions at Principal Officer level should be 2 open and 1 departmental (i.e. internal), with no inter-departmental component.  It was further decided that the sequence of promotions at Assistant Principal should be 1 open, 1 inter-departmental and 1 departmental.  


Claire Martinez

Press Officer

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Merrion Street

Dublin 2

D02 R583

Direct line: 01 6045306

Mobile: 0861839961


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