French Civil Service

The French Civil Service is the set of civil servants working for the French government. Not all employees of the state and public institutions or corporations are civil servants; however, the media often incorrectly equate "government employee" or "employee of a public corporation" with fonctionnaire. For instance, most employees of RATP and SNCF (road and rail transport authorities) are not civil servants. The Civil Service is also sometimes incorrectly referred to as the administration, but, properly speaking, the administration is the compound of public administrations and public administrative establishments, not their employees. About half of the civil servants are employed in the French public education system. Most employment positions in the French civil service are open to citizens of the European Union. Others, especially in police and justice, are specifically reserved for nationals, while a minority are open regardless of citizenship. Most positions are open to citizens of the European Union. Certain positions involving the main powers of the state (e.g. Police) are open only to French nationals. Some rare positions, e.g. university professors and researchers, are open regardless of citizenship.

As an exception to the general rules concerning workers, civil servants do not sign contracts; their situation is defined by statutory and regulatory dispositions, most notably the General Statute of the Civil Servants. The general rule is that civil servants are recruited through competitive exams, either:

* external, reserved to competitors fulfilling certain conditions of diplomas and age;
* internal, reserved to civil servants in certain positions;
* external, reserved to competitors having certain professional experience and age.

The most common method is to organize written and/or oral exams in subjects pertaining to the tasks to be accomplished. For certain positions, such as professorships in universities, the exam, organized locally for each position or each set of similar positions, consists in the submission of a file listing the professional qualifications and experience of the candidate, followed by an interview. In all cases, a committee ranks candidates by order of preference; the positions are filled by the candidates accepting them called in that order of preference. For some top managerial positions, nominations are at the discretion of the executive. High level nominations are made by the President of the Republic in the council of ministers. The rest are by the head of the agency they belong to, or by a minister; in fact, they are in general appointed by some person who has received from the head of agency or minister the authority to do so.


Please post your thoughts and queries for French Civil Service