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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 sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Salary Range
€125k - €143k
Career Zone

In Summary - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

A member of the Management Advisory Committee of a Government Department in the Public Service.

Career Sectors

Civil Service - Assistant Secretarys typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service
Government, Politics & EU

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The Work - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

Each Department of State has a permanent staff consisting of administrative, professional, specialist and technical employees. The head civil servant of each Department is the Secretary General, who is recommended by the Minister for that Department and appointed for a period of 7 years by the Government.

Below the Secretary General, there are a number of Assistant Secretaries, who are each responsible for specific areas of work in the Department. Below the Assistant Secretaries, there are many officials at varying levels of seniority.

An Assistant Secretary is a member of the Management Advisory Committee of a Department, they are expected to contribute to the achievement of the Departments overall objectives.

An Assistant Secretary is expected to lead and direct strategic change within their area of responsibility, provide effective leadership in promoting the Departments strategic objectives and engendering a positive working environment, and represent the Departments interests in communicating and Liasing with a range of government departments, state agencies and other stakeholders.

Interests - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


The following competencies are sought for the Assistant Secretary role inthe Irish Civil Service:

Strategic Thinking:

  • Creating a vision for the organisation & sector and anticipating the requirements to deliver it
  • Analysing complex issues quickly and anticipating knock-on consequences
  • Taking a system-wide approach and seeing connections, risks and the potential for innovation in the wider environment
  • Leading on the implementation of risk assessment practices and engaging in balanced risk taking
  • Showing courage in making difficult decisions

Managing Relationships - Leads People:

  • Being a visible and energetic leader who fully engages others
  • Building and supporting cross functional and interdepartmental teams
  • Delegating responsibility and ensuring accountability in others
  • Setting challenging goals and implementing effective performance management
  • Coaching and supporting others to optimise their contribution and development

Managing Relationships - Collaborates and Communicates with Conviction:

  • Playing a full and active part on the senior team in shaping and leading the Department
  • Communicating professionally and credibly, managing the expectations of others
  • Skillfully negotiating and influencing with conviction
  • Anticipating political sensitivities and complexities and responding in an informed and constructive manner
  • Building and maintaining effective working relationships with key stakeholders
  • Facilitating collaboration, partnerships and networks internally and externally to achieve common goals

High Performance and Delivering Results:

  • Assuming accountability for own actions and decisions
  • Ensuring the full range of management disciplines are used to deliver quality services at pace and within budget
  • Challenging processes to improve organisational capacity, responsiveness and citizen focus
  • Ensuring successful implementation through a range of delivery methods, including use of external parties
  • Focusing effort on priority tasks to maximise results
  • Ensuring a strong feedback loop between policy development and operations

Drive and Resilience:

  • Showing initiative and sustaining high levels of personal drive and energy.

Entry Requirements - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

Pay & Salary - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €125k - €143k

Data Source(s):

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

No shortages have been identified for this occupation.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Civil Service - Assistant Secretary

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