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ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

ESA offers attractive employment conditions, including a range of benefits, programmes and allowances to promote a multi-cultural, supportive, inclusive and family-friendly working environment.

The people who work at ESA are key to our success and are our most valuable asset. As an employer, we are committed to developing our staff throughout their career at ESA. We have put in place an attractive employment package to take care of our people in both their professional and personal lives and to offer a truly inclusive and supportive working environment.

ESA contracts

Most ESA positions are permanent. This means that the contract is for an initial period of four years, after which it can be extended indefinitely, i.e. up to the ESA retirement age of 63.

Some positions are temporary and therefore the contract is for a fixed duration, which may be extended for a further period. If a position is temporary, this will be specified in the vacancy notice together with the foreseen duration of the contract.

The duties of staff members of the Agency are international in character; staff members shall carry out their duties and regulate their conduct with the interests of the Agency always in mind. In this respect, they are subject to the authority of the Director General. They shall neither seek nor accept instructions from any government, authority, organisation or person external to the Agency.


ESA offers competitive salaries as a recognised intergovernmental organisation and, together with other international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it is part of the Co-ordinated Organisation system.

ESA salaries are exempt from national income tax in ESA Member States, in line with Annex I of the ESA Convention.

The majority of ESA positions fall into two grade categories (A or B) which are assigned according to the duties and responsibilities and the level of qualifications required. Most positions are A grade (usually A2-A4) and involve either scientific or engineering activities or professional administration relating to law, finance, contracts or administration. B grade positions are mainly for secretarial, administrative or technical support activities.

These grades also have different levels of educational requirement. For instance, all A grade positions require a Master’s degree. The educational requirements for B grade positions depend upon the level within the B grade structure and are specified in the vacancy notice.


Depending on personal circumstances, ESA staff may also be eligible for a number of additional allowances. These include dependent child allowance, basic family allowance, expatriation allowance and education allowance (i.e. reimbursement of part of the education costs of the children of staff members).

Medical cover and pensions

ESA has a comprehensive social security scheme that provides cover for sickness, maternity, accident and disability.

Under certain conditions, coverage can be extended to dependent spouses and children. After retirement from ESA, pensioners continue to benefit from the scheme.

The coverage offered by ESA includes a full medical check each year.

Staff members accrue pension rights yearly, and are eligible for a retirement pension after completing 10 years of service. Staff members who leave the Agency before the completion of 10 years of service receive a leaving allowance.

Relocation support

If you have to move from your home country to take up your position at 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.

Holidays and leave

ESA staff are entitled to 12 public holidays and 32.5 days of annual leave each year (30 days for Young Graduate Trainees and Internal Research Fellows). Expatriate staff can benefit from an additional eight days home leave every two years, under certain conditions. Home leave also entails payment of a return trip to your home country for you and your family. And, of course, ESA also makes provision for maternity, paternity, parental/family care and sick leave, and can grant special leave for personal and family-related reasons.

Working hours and work-life balance

ESA is a family-friendly environment offering flexible working arrangements and multiple benefits to its employees in order to promote a positive work-life balance.

ESA’s standard working pattern is an eight-hour working day and 40-hour week. To help you balance your professional and personal life, we offer flexible working (with a flexitime scheme and agreed daily core hours when everyone is at work), the option to telewor k and a part-time scheme (50, 60 or 80%). Some of these benefits, such as part-time working, can only be requested once you have been working at ESA for a certain period of time.

ESA offers a range of facilities at ESA establishments to improve the quality of working life, including coffee bars, canteens and medical centres, and many social, cultural and sport activities too!

Learn more about Work-Life balance , Life at ESA and explore our ESA Establishments and Facilities.

Learning and development opportunities

ESA is particularly committed to the continuous development of its staff to help them reach their full professional potential and allow them to achieve their personal career goals. We offer a vast range of in-house professional training and development opportunities in the areas of engineering, management and leadership, information technology, personal development, administration and safety. Language training in a number of European languages and scholarship opportunities for specific space-related university programmes are also offered.

All these training programmes are designed to accommodate the needs of individual staff members while addressing ESA’s priorities and many are now offered online.

Where a training need cannot be met by an in-house training course, it is possible to attend a course offered by an external provider.

A unique and inspiring place to work

Our mission is the peaceful exploration and use of space for the benefit of everyone. We watch over Earth, develop and launch inspiring and unique space projects, train astronauts and push the boundaries of science and technology, seeking answers to the big questions about the Universe. We are a family of scientists, engineers and business professionals from all over Europe working together in a diverse and multinational environment. We are dedicated to united space in Europe and united Europe in space.

While there is great diversity in the background, nationality and expertise of the people of ESA, they are united in their dedication to our mission. The activities of the Agency inspire and motivate them to perform at their very best. If this sounds like the type of environment that you, too, would thrive in, we invite you to consider a career at ESA.



More information

Interested in applying to ESA? Learn more about ways to join us and our recruitment process . You can also browse our current vacancies  here .

Meet your future colleagues and find out more about ESA from the people who make it the great place that it is. 

More questions? Check out our Frequently asked questions  page.

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