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Diplomatic Service Officer Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Diplomatic Service Officer. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Diplomatic Service Officer
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Diplomatic Service Officer Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Diplomatic Service officers work in the UK and abroad for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), protecting and promoting British interests overseas. The range and variety of work covers every area where British interests and citizens are involved internationally, and includes the following:

Political - monitoring political and economic developments in the host country, representing Britain̢۪s views to the government of that country, informing and advising London of the local situation, and ensuring that British policy is properly explained to the government and media.

Commercial - helping British companies to sell their goods and services in the country, arranging representation at trade fairs, ensuring that local laws do not discriminate against British companies, and promoting inward investment to Britain.

Consular - assisting British citizens who may be resident in or visiting the host country, and processing applications from local people who may wish to visit or work in Britain.

At each Embassy, Consulate or High Commission there are diplomatic officers responsible for management and support services including accommodation, residences and security.

Those based in London deal with one or more specific countries or areas. They keep in touch with their counterparts working in those countries and with the relevant foreign or Commonwealth representatives based in London.

Hours and Environment

Diplomatic Service officers may be required to serve anywhere in the world. Conditions and hours worked abroad could vary tremendously depending upon the demands of the post and the climate. The nature of some postings may restrict social and family life, and affect children̢۪s education.

Those based in London usually work normal office hours from Monday to Friday.

Skills and Interests

A Diplomatic Service officer should:

  • have detailed knowledge of international affairs
  • be prepared to live with other cultures in different countries
  • be able to think quickly and analytically
  • have good interpersonal skills and communication skills to provide reports and briefings
  • be a highly organised
  • have plenty of motivation to get involved with local communities
  • have tact and maturity for management and development of staff.


All applicants must be British citizens. There are three entry routes:

Main Stream - no entry qualifications are required. More weight is given to previous work experience, although academic achievement will be taken into account in the selection process.

Political Office - a second class (2.2) honours degree in any subject is required. A foreign language would be useful. You should have an aptitude for languages, which you will be expected to learn prior to taking up appointments overseas.

European Fast Stream - in addition to a degree you should have an A level or equivalent in another European language or be able to speak another European language fluently.

Entry to a degree course is with five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades(1-3) plus two A levels/three Highers. Equivalent qualifications may be accepted.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Previous management, commercial or public administration experience would be useful, as would ability in one or more foreign languages.


All three routes start with an induction course, which introduces the work of the Diplomatic Service and the FCO in general. On-the-job training plus many varied training courses are available throughout an officers career, especially in the early years.

The FCO places emphasis on language training and all staff are encouraged to take advantage of the in-house language centre to prepare for overseas postings.


There are over 3,500 people in the Diplomatic Service working in London or based in missions overseas.

Staff are recruited and promoted strictly on ability and there are clear routes through to the top positions. Fast Stream entrants are expected to gain promotion more quickly.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline. Salary scales and allowances for officers in the diplomatic service are linked to civil service pay scales.

Salary scales start at £14,000 per year, including a recruitment and retention allowance paid to all UK staff.
Experienced officers would expect to earn £20,000.
Officers in senior posts could earn £30,000.

Additional allowances may be paid to officers working overseas.

Further information

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Recruitment Section
Personnel Command
Room 2/98
Old Admiralty Building

Other Useful Diplomatic Service Officer Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Diplomatic Service Officer job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Diplomatic Service Officer Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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