Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Joseph Conboy from Irish Tax Institute to give some advice for people considering this job:


Joseph Conboy

Associate Director

Irish Tax Institute

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  Joseph Conboy
If you are looking for a career that keeps you always challenged and interested, then you really should consider a career in tax! The fact that tax is constantly changing helps keep it interesting. Every year we have a new Budget/Finance Act which introduces new tax law that we have to get on top off. So it means we are constantly learning and need to be up to date with changes as quickly as possible – that’s what our clients expect of us.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Civil and Public Service Jobs

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Contact details:
Contact Name:
Anne Quaine
Public Appointments Service
Chapter House
26 - 30 Abbey St Upper,
Dublin 1
353 1 8587400

Employment Profile...
Go... What are the main occupation types employed?
Go... What types of work contract are offered?
Go... What are the key attractions?
Go... What locations do you operate from?
Go... What are the current employment trends?
Go... Describe any particular characteristics of your workforce? 

What are the main occupation types employed?

During periods of Civil Service recruitment, the Clerical Officer position is often the first step into an exciting career in the Civil Service.

Clerical Officers work in all departments in Ireland, providing vital input to the team through a range of general office duties. Promotional opportunities are available to all Clerical Officers when they are made permanent. Clerical Officers need a good general standard of education and a customer focused attitude.

The next level into the Civil Service is the Executive Officer role. As a trainee management role, Executive Officers perform a first-level management role in all departments. This encompasses both project management and after initial training, staff management. Executive Officers can apply for promotion after a specified period of time. Details of criteria needed to apply for this position can be found on our website

The Administrative role is the level above Executive Officer. Administrative Officers (AO) play a crucial role in policy formulation (through critical analysis, research and policy drafting) for a wide range of governmental areas. Administrative Officers can also be involved in drafting briefing materials for Ministers. This role is an excellent opportunity for honours graduates to begin working in the Public Sector.

Another attractive position for graduates is the Third Secretary/Junior Diplomat in the Department of Foreign Affairs, the recruitment grade for the Irish diplomatic service. Third Secretaries initially work in the Department of Foreign Affairs before travelling to an Irish embassy or consulate where they will work for a number of years. There are many different projects and areas of work within Foreign Affairs, from dealing with Irish tourists' issues abroad to acting as an Irish Representative in various formal functions.

To apply for the AO and Third Secretary position, you need a first or second class honours degree.

Other professional and specialist roles exist within the Public Service for both graduates and non-graduates. 

These include:

  • Engineers
  • Planners
  • Architects
  • Accountants/Auditors
  • Medical Consultants
  • Psychologists
  • Nursing Staff
  • Legal Staff- Solicitors, Barristers, Law Clerks
    Paramedical Staff – Dental Surgeons, Environmental Health Officers, Pharmacists, Community Welfare Officers.
  • Scientists 

We also provide recruitment and consultancy services to Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive and other public bodies during times of public service recruitment.

We recruit for the Fire Brigade on behalf of Dublin City Council and we also recruit for an Garda Síochana and the Prison Service.

The role of Firefighter is one that is held in extremely high esteem. The Firefighter  team is suitably respected within the community for the service they provide to the public.

Roles within the Fire Brigade include firefighting, driving ambulances and fire appliances, providing emergency medical assistance, technician and operating the control room, among others. Training is ongoing and learning new skills will ensure that you are constantly challenged.

Joining up to train as a Garda is a career that will change your life forever. As a garda your work will involve protecting and serving the public, reducing theft and crime and generally making our society a safer place for all of its citizens.

It's a serious task and a fulfilling position, which requires an extremely committed, hardworking approach.

To find out more information relating to these positions log onto

What types of work contract are offered?

A range of flexible working hours are available depending on the department in which you are working.

There are two types of entry contracts into the Civil Service. There are Established contracts in which the employee is on probation for one year before they become established and Temporary Clerical Officer contracts. The Temporary Clerical Officer contract can be either 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 13 weeks and this type of employment is conducted during the summer months.

Are there any particular work/life balance initiatives in

All Civil Servants can apply to the following initiatives:

1) Worksharing allows staff to opt for a part-time attendance pattern. Current examples of attendance patterns include: mornings only, afternoons only, three days per week, four days per week, 9am to 3pm each day, week on/week off and three weeks out of four. Worksharing staff are paid on a pro rata basis. (Finance Circular 31/01 gives further information).

2) Flexitime gives staff flexibility to vary their starting and finishing times, depending on the needs of their section.  Staff must be in work during the core times of 10.00am - 12.30pm and 2.30pm – 4.00 pm. A person may start work between 8.00am and 10.00am and finish between 4.00pm and 7.00pm. This does not impact on the minimum number of hours civil servants are required to work.

3) The Shorter Working Year scheme allows staff to balance their working arrangements with outside commitments. Under the terms of the scheme, special leave is available as a period of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 13 consecutive weeks. The leave may be taken as one continuous period, or as a maximum of 3 separate periods each consisting of not less than 2 weeks and not exceeding 13 weeks in total. The period of absence counts as unpaid special leave.

4) A career break is a period of unpaid leave from work of between six months and five years. In the Civil Service, staff may take two career breaks during their career. A career break may be allowed for domestic reasons; including child care, education or travel abroad. A person on a career break may not take up paid employment in Ireland. A career break of up to three years is available for purposes of self employment.


What are the key attractions?

The Civil Service encourages staff to strive to be the best. After all, a happy workforce is an efficient one. When you work for the Civil Service, you will have the opportunity to study part-time and will be refunded for all course fees that are relevant to your job. You will be given study leave and you will be supported and encouraged along the way. 

We often need a break to recharge. In the Civil Service you can avail of a career break, without having to worry about taking a step down in your career.

Caroline Clarke, Higher Executive Officer, utilised her career break to travel to Jersey.  " have that option without giving up your job is really nice. To know that if you go out of the country for six months/a year - you can have anything up to five years - you know that there is a job there when you come back..."

Healthy Work Life Balance

The Civil Service is a recognised leader in the development of flexible working practices. Flexible working time is available in most government departments. Job sharing facilities and other typical working arrangements may be availed of to pursue further education or for personal reasons.

What locations do you operate from?

Civil Servants fill positions nationwide. Certain positions, e.g Third Secretary and Junior Diplomat are filled Internationally.

What are the current employment trends?

Currently, there is a recruitment and promotion moratorium in place in the civil service, local authorities, non-commercial state bodies, the Garda Síochána and the Permanent Defence Forces. However, there are many opportunities available to work in the EU.

Decisions in respect of future recruitment campaigns will be taken in the context of the business needs of the relevant organisation, the moratorium on recruitment and promotion and any redeployment arrangements agreed for the civil and public service.

Describe any particular characteristics of your workforce?
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The Civil Service employs circa 30,000 people in a variety of roles in over thirty different departments/offices nationwide.

What's it all about?
The Civil Services primary goal is to provide services to the public. How this is achieved is constantly evolving. It may include working with the government to create and implement new policies and services, dealing directly with the public or even providing market research.

What kind of people are we looking for?
During times of recruitment, opportunities in the Civil Service are extremely diverse, ranging from accountancy to HR to customer services. In fact, no matter what your area of expertise, there is probably a Civil Service job of interest to you.

What's it like to work in the Civil Service?
Working for the Civil Service is both a challenging and fulfilling career. The great thing about a career here is the range of opportunities provided. The Civil Service encourages people to pursue their career goals, whether this is to move up the career ladder or to change their career completely and develop their own career path.

And what about the work place?
The Civil Service is an extremely friendly place to work and everyone works together as a team. Most departments have social clubs and sports teams, offering a great opportunity to meet new people and keep active. A unique 'Partnership' scheme is a forum where all staff are encouraged to contribute ideas to help improve their work environment.

What else is different?
One of the areas that set the Civil Service apart from other organisations is its international approach. Its embassies and consulates throughout the world help to represent Ireland's viewpoints abroad. Many Civil Servants have the opportunity to travel to the European Parliament in Brussels to represent the Irish government on various subjects.

There is currently a recruitment and promotion moratorium in place in the civil service, local authorities, non-commercial state bodies, the Garda Síochána and the Permanent Defence Forces.


Clerical Officer
Damien Dollard
"Attention to detail and the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people with different needs are very important in my job"
Damien Dollard
Occupational Psychologist
Aoife Lyons
"I am employed to bring the principles of psychology into the recruitment and selection service that the Public Appointments Service offers"
Aoife Lyons
Prison Officer
Margaret Donaghue
"tasks range from working on a landing, in the school, gym, waiting room, escort duty to hospital or court etc"
Margaret Donaghue
Third Secretary
Nora Barry
"An enthusiastic approach to my daily tasks and a desire to learn ensures I make the most of every experience"
Nora Barry
Ray Harli
"Everyday is an education, you constantly have to educate and re-educate yourself!"
Ray Harli
Industrial Relations Officer
Paul Shortt
"The job requires someone who is able to work under pressure, is comfortable with public speaking, is confident, assertive and decisive"
Paul Shortt
Prison Officer
Paul Harding
"I must remain alert and ready to deal with any situation as and when they arise"
Paul Harding
Higher Executive Officer
Sinead O'Hara
"I have both the possibility to work closely with a team, as well as the opportunity to work on, and have an input into the formulation of new policy"
Sinead O'Hara