The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer. We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability.
The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer. We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.
Job Category Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Policy & Political roles)
Job Subcategory Chancery
(Roles and Responsibilities)
Due to COVID-19, you may experience some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign. We are working hard to minimise any disruption. You may find more information in the Additional Information section below.
The British Embassy in Berne is part of a worldwide network, representing British political, economic and consular interests overseas and currently is recruiting a Senior Political Officer based in Berne covering Switzerland & Liechtenstein. This is a key and challenging Embassy role as part of an engaged and supportive team. It comes at a promising time for UK-Swiss and UK-Liechtenstein relations, on the back of enhanced cooperation leading up to, and since, the UK’s departure from the EU. The job holder will also be instrumental in realising opportunities presented by the UK Government’s bold foreign, defence, security and development vision for 2030 (the “Integrated Review”). The job will demand professional skills (communication, leadership, judgement) and understanding of the policy process and the range of actors and interests interacting in external relations, as well as the capacity to think politically. There will be ample opportunity to develop in all of these areas.
FOREIGN POLICY ENGAGEMENT: (50%)
- To support the Embassy’s influencing, analysis and reporting on a wide range of foreign and domestic issues in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. You will be expected to understand complicated foreign policy priorities, including on opportunities for international collaboration with Switzerland & Liechtenstein, and advise London on how best to protect and advance UK interests. The successful applicant will need to develop a broad network of contacts in and beyond government. You will be expected to work closely with the wider political team (covering domestic issues, economic/finance and communications) to ensure consistency of engagement.
BILATERAL ENGAGEMENT: (40%)
- To intensify and broaden cooperation under the UK-Swiss Strategic Dialogue process. The Dialogue itself is an annual fixture, setting direction - under headers of foreign policy, prosperity and people-to-people - from which you will keep momentum by leveraging responsible units in the Federal Administration and engaging UK government departments. In doing so, you will progress UK ambition to be Swiss partner of choice on key priorities, while strengthening Ministerial and official links, ensuring UK and Switzerland work together to tackle the biggest global challenges, including some activity on climate and environmental issues. You will also, working through a colleague, progress regional ties between UK and Switzerland.
PROTOCOL AND VISITS MANAGEMENT: (10%)
- To lead on or support other Embassy teams in their management of visits of UK Ministers and officials. For foreign policy-themed visits, this involves defining objectives and working through an administrative assistant, ensuring key components – outreach, programme development, briefing, logistics and protocol - are in place. It also includes promoting embassy-wide best practice with other sections and assisting with protocol-related enquiries where necessary. It requires excellent organisation, coordination and, at times, resilience and an ability to work fast through others under pressure. Many of these visitors are here to see and learn about the countries first-hand, and to develop personal contacts locally.
Essential qualifications, skills and experience
- Fluent in English and German (both written and spoken, minimum of C1 level for CEFR framework*);
- Accurate, clear, and engaging written and oral communication skills;
- Knowledge of Swiss politics;
- Team-playing ethos;
- Strong research and analytical skills;
- Familiarity with Microsoft IT systems;
- Readiness to proactively develop a broad network of contacts.
Desirable qualifications, skills and experience
- Experience of working in an international organisation;
- Applied project management skills;
- Knowledge of international politics;
- Experience organising/hosting visits;
- Representational skills or potential to develop them;
- French language proficiency.
Seeing the Big Picture, Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Engaging Internationally
Application deadline 23 May 2021
Grade B3 (L)
Type of Position Full-time, Permanent
Working hours per week 40
Region Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia
Location (City) Berne
Type of Post British Embassy
Number of vacancies 1
Starting monthly salary (CHF) 8052.00
Start Date 26 July 2021
Other benefits and conditions of employment
This is a full-time permanent contract, of 40 hours per week.
Gross monthly salary is CHF 8052.00. In addition, staff are entitled to a 13th month salary pro rata. The annual leave entitlement is 25 days per year pro rata and the Embassy also enjoys a maximum of 14 Swiss/ UK public holidays per year.
The Embassy operates flexible working patterns within an extended working day and a ‘compressed hours’ working week (closing at 13:00 Friday). Staff can expect to work a maximum of one day per week from home post-Covid. Typical hours are 09:00 – 18:00 with a compulsory paid lunch break of 45 minutes (Mon-Thurs), but staff can start earlier/later and finish earlier/later. Time off in Lieu is available in exceptional circumstances where staff are required to work beyond their contracted hours and where agreed in advance with the line manager.
FCDO is committed to continual learning and development. The Embassy will provide funding in line with L&D requirements and a variety of learning and development is provided throughout the year both directly at post and virtually through the FCDO International Academy. There will be opportunities to attend training, lectures etc. on the job.
The successful candidate will be subject to professional background and security clearance. The successful candidate must have pre-existing work authorisation for Switzerland in order to apply. All applicants should have the right to live and work in Switzerland.
Staff recruited locally by the British Embassy are subject to terms and conditions service according to Swiss employment law.
Visa/work permit requirements: Candidates must currently hold the independent right to live and work in Switzerland and be prepared to ensure that right remains throughout the scope of the contract.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you meet the legal requirements to live and work in this country.
Please note that the deadline for applications is 23:55 on the day mentioned in the above field “Application deadline”.
We advise you to allow enough time to complete and submit your full application, since only applications completed and submitted before the deadline will be considered.
Please be aware that the deadline for submitting applications is considered to be the time zone for the country where the vacancy has arisen.
Please be advised that the FCDO will not be able to meet the travel costs incurred when travelling to the interview, nor the costs connected with relocation if offered a job.
Information due to COVID-19:
- You may experience some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign and we are working hard to minimise any disruption;
- Interviews will be done remotely if the existing situation determines this to be the right course of action;
- Starting date may be delayed depending on circumstances at the time and it will be agreed with the selected candidate.
*Please note for more information on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment levels please click on the following link CEFR. Please bear in mind in case you are invited for an interview your language skill is going to be assessed.