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Frequently asked questions

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ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

Please go through the following FAQs to see if any of your questions have already been answered.

How do I apply for a post at ESA? 
ESA vacancies are posted regularly on ESA's HR platform, 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? 
We do not encourage unsolicited applications.

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 received are evaluated. 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? 
Applications are stored in a database; after the closing date they are evaluated and a shortlist compiled of suitable candidates. Applicants selected for the shortlist will then be invited to attend 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.

How many employees work at ESA worldwide? 
About 2000 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 in Paris in France; Noordwijk in the Netherlands; Frascati in Italy; Darmstadt in Germany; Villanueva de la Cañada (Madrid) in Spain; Harwell in the UK and Redu in Belgium. ESA also has a number of ground stations, offices and outposts worldwide. These include France (Toulouse, Les Mureaux, Evry and Cannes), Germany (Cologne and Oberpfaffenhofen), Spain (Cebreros, Maspalomas, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona), Belgium (Brussels), the United States (Washington, Houston, Greenbelt, Baltimore and Pasadena), Switzerland (Geneva), Sweden (Kiruna), Russia (Moscow), and Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. In many of these locations, however, ESA has only a very limited presence.

What are the working languages of the Agency? 
The two official languages are English and French. Knowledge of one of these two languages is compulsory and a working knowledge of the other is highly desirable. In practice, however, numerous languages are spoken and proficiency in one or more languages of ESA Member States is an asset.

I’m not a national of one of the Member States. Can I still apply? 
We can only consider applications from nationals of ESA Member States.

Where can I find vacancies for a specific ESA Establishment? 
Each job description states the ESA establishment of the job opportunity. If you cannot find a vacancy notice for the desired establishment it means there are no current vacancies there.

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. Contracts for advance recruits are for two years and are not renewable. However, upon termination of an advance recruit contract an ESA staff contract may be given.

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

The vacancy I am interested in states that the post is in the A2-A4 grade band. How does this translate into pay? 
An indication of the salaries for the various grades within the Agency can be found under Salary and Hours.

What is your policy on gender equality? 
ESA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to achieving diversity within the workforce and creating an inclusive working environment. More information is given in the gender equality section of Recruitment policy.

I am a high school/secondary school student and am looking for a summer job. What possibilities are there at ESA? 
Unfortunately, ESA does not offer employment for students until they reach university level.

I am a high school/secondary school student and would like to be 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.

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 or equivalent. 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 offered by, and paid for by the governments of the 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 paid 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 limited number of unpaid placements, normally for periods of up to six months, in both technical and non-technical areas of the Agency. In principle, priority is given to students in their last year 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 Fellowship.

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 require a university degree in an engineering and/or scientific discipline, often at Masters level. It is also common for many applicants to have completed their postdoctoral studies. Some posts that do not require a university education are available at B grades. The typical backgrounds of a selection of ESA employees can be seen under People of ESA here.

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, depending on your age.

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 We will try our best to get you an answer.
Please note that due to the high level of interest in working at ESA and in the ESA YGT Programme in particular, we can unfortunately not respond individually to all queries. If it's a question we've seen before, we will consider adding it to our list of FAQs.