I Want to Work in … Politics

 

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
A.A. Milne

“Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man!” And communism? “The other way around.”

I Want to Work in Politics

What job roles are there in politics? 

Becoming a politician is far from being the only way into a career in politics. There are many opportunities related to politics, and many of them do not require a politics degree.
These include:

 
For all of these, you will need an interest in politics: some grassroots involvement in local or student politics is a good way of demonstrating this.

Political Research

Political party agents 

Political party agents organise and support a party at constituency level and also promote the party and its representatives. The largest parties occasionally recruit graduates as trainee party organisers/agents.

Communication and public affairs

Public Affairs Consultant

Public affairs is a specialised area of public relations that helps an organization (of any kind, including businesses, charities and public bodies) interact with the government, legislators, interest groups, and the media. Public affairs consultants use their understanding of the political system to offer political and public policy advice. Some consultants specialise in either lobbying or research. Their clients may include private sector companies, trade associations, charities, not-for-profit organisations and overseas governments.
Some public affairs consultants work in consultancies that specialise in this area: other in the public affairs divisions of generalist public relations agencies

Public affairs consultancies


Other Employers

Journalist

Politician

Unlikely to be a graduate’s first career post and one that usually lacks any job security!

How to Become an MP

Special Advisers

Special Advisers (often abbreviated to "Spads") in Government departments are personal appointees of the Secretary of State, but employed as temporary civil servants. Unlike mainstream civil servants, they are exempt from the obligation of political impartiality. Special Advisers:


Public Sector

Civil Service Fast Stream

The Fast Stream is a development programme designed to prepare graduates for careers at the highest levels of the Civil Service. Fast Stream graduates work in central Government departments, the Houses of Parliament, the Diplomatic Service, the Government Communications Service and in specialist areas including HR, Finance and Project Delivery. The programme offers experience in policy, operational, commercial and financial areas, rotating between different Government departments and with opportunities for external secondments.
Impartiality is a cornerstone of the Civil Service and civil servants are required to be politically neutral in carrying out their duties. Their job is to enact the wishes of the Government in a way that works for the public in the best way possible, regardless of their own political views or their opinion of the policies. More senior civil servants cannot be a member of a political party. If you are highly active in politics, you should consider whether the Civil Service is really the right career option for you.

Local Government

This offers a broad range of careers, both generalist (manager, officer, administrator etc.) and specialist (such as finance, education, human resources). Graduates in local government are responsible for the development and implementation of the local authority’s policies and procedures, ensuring that they are delivered effectively and offer value for money. Again, political neutrality is usually expected. A number of local authorities run graduate schemes: some, such as Kent County Council, recruit directly while others take applications through the National Graduate Development Programme.

Other public sector opportunities

Job vacancies

Useful links

Last fully updated July 2016