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Frequently asked questions

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ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

Do you have questions which have not been answered on our Careers at ESA website? Our FAQ is here to support you.

Job opportunities

 

How do I apply for a post at ESA?
ESA vacancies are posted regularly on ESA's Careers website, which can be found under Vacancies. If you intend to apply for a position, press the button on the bottom of the job description, register, fill in your candidate profile and follow the instructions.

How often are new jobs posted on your website? 
New vacancies are posted regularly, often daily, so check frequently.

Can I send an open application? 
Due to the extremely high volume of applications we receive each year, we would encourage you to monitor our Careers website for suitable vacancies and/or sign up for a job alert.

How long do vacancies remain posted on the site? 
External vacancy notices remain on the site until the closing date which is four weeks from the date of issue.

Will you confirm receipt of my application? 
All the applications receive an automatic acknowledgement of receipt. Once you have applied, you will be able to track the status of your application. All candidates, whether they are selected for interview or not are informed, by email, about the outcome of their application. 

What happens to my online application? 
After the closing date of the relevant vacancy, all applications are evaluated and a shortlist compiled of suitable candidates. Applicants selected for the shortlist will then be invited to attend a pre-screening discussion or an interview.

Can I apply for more than one job at a time? 
You are welcome to apply for any job for which you are qualified. For our trainee positions, we strongly encourage you to focus on the one opportunity most in line with your aspirations and background.

How do I set up a job alert?
Find the full description here. 

I am not currently working in the space sector, but I would like to work at ESA.
If your background/profile is in line with the competencies requested in our job opportunities, please feel free to apply. We have opportunities in science, engineering and business and administration areas (legal, facility management, communication, HR etc.). Have a look at our Careers website. A hint: set a job alert so that you are informed about any job openings which may correspond to your profile.

Are there any opportunities to work remotely?
Generally speaking, ESA positions require you to relocate to the location indicated in the vacancy. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, student internships published for 2021 will be offered remotely.

I am not a national of one of the ESA Member States. Can I still apply? 
Unfortunately not. ESA may only consider applications from nationals of ESA Member States. These countries are listed in our vacancies. 

Where can I find vacancies for a specific ESA Establishment? 
Each job description states where the job will be located. If you cannot find a vacancy notice for your preferred establishment, it means there are no current vacancies there. The drop-down menu covers the main ESA establishments. If you are looking for a vacancy in a location not listed, e.g. EAC in Porz-Wahn or ESEC in Redu, put this into the “key words” box. We recommend you take the same approach when setting up your alert.

What is the difference between a permanent post and an advance recruitment post? 
A permanent contract is initially for four years with a possibility of an extension up to the ESA retirement age of 63. Contracts for advance recruits are for two years and are not renewable. However, a permanent contract is usually given at the end of the advance recruitment contract.

What kind of working conditions and benefits can I expect? 
Apart from an international and multicultural working environment, ESA offers an attractive remuneration and benefits package.

What is the recruitment process and the measures in place taken in response to the COVID-19 crisis?
ESA vacancies are published on the ESA recruiting site as usual and interviews are taking place remotely via Skype for Business or WebEx.
In line with national guidelines, teleworking is currently encouraged as much as possible and most ESA employees are now working from home. All meetings are taking place remotely and external visitors to the various ESA sites are restricted until further notice.

I don’t have a Master’s degree, what are the opportunities for me at ESA?
All professional roles at ESA require a Master as a minimum. Some require a PhD. However, for administrative supporting positions, such as secretaries or administrative assistants, the educational requirements are less stringent.
The ESA trainee programmes start with opportunities targeting students studying for a Master. More information about the various trainee programmes can be found here.
The detailed educational requirements for each position are specified in the vacancy text. Have a look at our vacancies and set up an alert to be informed as soon as an opportunity is published. In addition, the ESA Academy offers exciting short-term learning opportunities such as hands-on space projects and training programmes for students from Bachelor to PhD.

I would like to become an astronaut. How should I proceed and what qualifications do I need? 
Information on how to become an astronaut can be found under How to Become an Astronaut, or by visiting the Human & Robotic Exploration FAQs page.

 

Working at ESA

 

How many employees work at ESA worldwide? 
About 2400 staff members work in ESA's various locations.

Where are ESA staff located? 
The vast majority of staff are located at ESA's seven main establishments: ESA Headquarters in Paris in France; ESTEC in Noordwijk in the Netherlands; ESRIN in Frascati in Italy; ESOC in Darmstadt in Germany; ESAC in Villanueva de la Cañada (Madrid) in Spain; ECSAT in Harwell in the UK and ESEC in Redu in Belgium. ESA staff can also be found at a number of sites, ground stations, offices and outposts worldwide. 

What are the working languages of the Agency? 
ESA’s working languages are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required and knowledge of another Member State language is considered to be an asset. In practice, however, most meetings are conducted in English while social and informal interactions can take place in almost any language.

What is your approach to diversity?
ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. For this purpose, we welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beliefs, age, disability or other characteristics. Applications from women are encouraged.
At the Agency we value diversity and we welcome people with disabilities.  Whenever possible, we seek to accommodate individuals with disabilities by providing the necessary support at the workplace.  The Human Resources Department can also provide assistance during the recruitment process.
More information on our approach is given here.

How do you support newcomers in moving to ESA?
If you have to move from your home country to work for ESA, you will receive a relocation support package. This includes support to help you find accommodation as well as the reimbursement of your removal expenses plus an installation allowance to assist with the costs associated with settling into your new home.

What are the working hours at ESA?
ESA is a family-friendly environment offering flexible working arrangements and multiple benefits to its employees for greater work-life balance. As a general principle, ESA has a five-day, 40-hour working week. Learn more by clicking here.

What if I am recruited at an ESA establishment and I don’t speak the local language?
ESA supports the integration of new staff and their partners with language training. More information on the various options can be provided to candidates during the selection process.

What are the facilities accessible on site?
You can find complete information on the ESA Establishments page or here.

 

Student and entry-level programmes

 

Does ESA run any activities on space for students?
ESA organises a number of workshops, courses and competitions for students of all ages. If you would like more details, take a look under high schools or higher education on our Education site.

I am a high school/secondary school student and am looking for a summer job. What possibilities are there at ESA? 
ESA’s programmes start with students at university.  Short-term training programmes for high-school or secondary-school students are offered by ESA Education.

I’ve recently graduated from university. Can I apply for a post at ESA? 
Yes, ESA has a Young Graduate Trainee Programme for recently qualified graduates with a Master's degree. This one-year training opportunity is designed to give you your first job experience and to help prepare you for future employment in the space sector. More information can be found under the Young Graduate Trainee Programme.

What is the difference between the National Trainee Programmes and the Young Graduate Trainee (YGT) Programme? 
The main difference is that the National Trainee Programmes are organised by certain Member States. National Trainees are employed by the governments of their respective countries, with ESA playing the role of host. The YGT programme is open to nationals of all of ESA Member States and the trainees are employed by ESA.

I am a national of a country with a National Trainee Programme, can I still apply for the YGT Programme? 
Yes, you can.

I am a university student. Can I carry out a placement at ESA as part of my degree course? 
Yes, ESA offers a number of student placements, normally for periods of three to six months, in both technical and non-technical areas of the Agency. In principle, priority is given to Master’s students in their last years of studies. For more details and how to apply, look at Student internships.

I have just obtained my PhD, can I carry out my research topic at ESA? 
ESA has a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme. For more information, see Research Fellowships.

Which educational studies are most suitable for work at ESA? 
ESA is an organisation devoted to science and technology in the space domain. Most technical jobs therefore require a Master’s degree in an engineering and/or scientific discipline. Some positions require a PhD.

Where can I find the student internship opportunities?
These opportunities are usually published in November for one month. At this point, you can browse the opportunities on our recruitment website by clicking here.

Student internships: I read that the internships will take place remotely in 2021. If I prefer to do my internship on site, is it possible?
Unfortunately, due to the many uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, student internships in 2021 will only take place remotely from your place of residence. Only for very rare exceptions (e.g. where laboratory access is essential) will opportunities be offered on site.

Student internships: I live near one of the ESA establishments but my internship is taking place remotely. Can I come on site?
Even for students living near an ESA site, 2021 internships will take place remotely. Only for very rare exceptions (e.g. where laboratory access is essential) will opportunities be offered on site.

Student internships: I live in a country that is not an ESA Member State or Cooperating State. Can I still apply?
Your country of residence is not the determining factor. To be eligible for an ESA internship, you must be a student preferably in your final or second-to-last year of a university course at Masters level (or equivalent) and you must be a citizen of one of the following ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia, as Associate Members, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States.
If this is the case, you can apply and if selected, you will undertake your internship from your place of residence.

Student internships: I live in one of the ESA Member States or Cooperating States but I am not a citizen of one of these countries. Can I apply to the internships programme?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. To be eligible for an ESA internship, you must be a student preferably in your final or second-to-last year of university course at masters level (or equivalent) and you must be a citizen of one of the following ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia, as Associate Members, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovakia as European Cooperating States.

Student internships: can I do my master’s thesis at ESA?
Once you are selected for a student internship at ESA, and if agreed with your tutor, it is possible to write your master's thesis while at ESA.

I have lots of questions about student internship possibilities but I don’t see them listed here
Please click here for detailed FAQs on student internships.

 

Meet us

 

Is there a way to meet and exchange with ESA professionals ?
Of course, you can come and meet us at careers events! Check out our page here.

I need to speak to someone in ESA's Human Resources Department about jobs and/or training opportunities. The questions I have are not answered in this FAQ. What should I do? 
Email your questions to contact.human.resources@esa.int. We will do our best to get you an answer as quickly as possible.

If your question is one that is asked often, we will add it to this list of FAQs.

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