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Contract Agents

What is a contract agent and what do contract agents do?

There are two sub-categories of contract agent. The first covers those who are hired to work:

  • in Commission Directorates-General to do manual or administrative support-service tasks;
  • in Commission Offices attached to a Directorate-General, such as the two Offices for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels and Luxembourg and the Paymasters Office;
  • in Agencies;
  • in Commission Representations and Delegations.

As a contract agent of this type (contract staff "3a") you would enjoy longer-term employment prospects, with an initial contract running for a maximum period of five years and renewable for a maximum of five years. The contract can be converted into a contract of indefinite duration.

The second sub-category covers contract agents that can be hired to work in Commission's DGs dealing with other tasks than manual and administrative support tasks (contract staff "3b"). That is to say, they are recruited:

  • temporarily to replace officials absent due to illness, maternity leave, etc.;
  • as a response to acute staff shortages at times of intense work pressure;
  • to undertake work for a temporary period providing additional capacity in specialised fields where officials with the required skills are not available.

As a contract agent of this type, you would have short-term employment prospects, working on the basis of contracts running up to a maximum of six years. The minimum length of contract is three months.

How to become a contract agent

Rules governing the hiring of contract agents in the Commission are established by a Commission Decision pdf - 76 KB [76 KB] français (fr) .

The selection process begins with candidates filling in on-line applications in response to call for expressions of interest published on the EPSO website. These applications are then stored in a database. Those applicants who match specific skills profiles and who have the right qualifications then sit tests to assess their aptitudes, linguistic ability, knowledge of European integration, and professional competence. If successful in the tests, those who are considered by a hiring service to be suitable to their specific requirements will be invited to an interview by a selection committee.

To apply as a contract agent you may:

  • consult the EPSO website to see if there are ongoing calls for expression of interest;
  • send a speculative enquiry via EU CV online.


Career and benefits


Contract agents positions are available for a wide range of jobs, which require different levels of qualifications. These can be for a short term contract or even up to potentially life-long employment. As a result, contract agents are split up into 18 grades divided into four function groups according to the types of duty performed and covering very specific job specifications.

The four function groups are defined as follows:

  • IV (grades 13-18) - administrative, advisory, linguistic and equivalent technical tasks;
  • III (grades 8-12) - executive tasks, drafting, accountancy and other equivalent technical tasks;
  • II (grades 4-7) - clerical or secretarial tasks, office management and other equivalent tasks;
  • I (grades 1-3) - manual and administrative support-service tasks.

Within the function group your grading will take account of qualifications and previous appropriate work experience. You will be hired in the first step of the grade concerned (each grade has 7 salary steps) and automatically advance to the next step after two years.

Salary and benefits

Salaries for contract agents begin at € 1.600 and rise to a maximum of € 5.800. For the salary table, see the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants (Article 93) .

You will also be able to benefit from family-related allowances and coverage by the same social security schemes as temporary agents (unemployment insurance, Communities pension scheme and the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme).

As a contract agent, you also have access to training programmes offered by the EU institutions.

Commission civil service