Hi all,

Does anyone know the difference between Contract Agents (Function groups I-IV) and Temporary staff (AD5-AD16)?

I'm a bit confused because both of them are temporary and apparently similar in tasks. Do you also know if it's possible to easily switch from one category to the other one? Thanks


Somedudereplyingtoquestions Mon, 03/08/2021 - 07:54


The Contract Agent (CA) and Temporary Agent (TA) categories are indeed very similar.

The CA category was introduced some time ago to organise specifically (a bit easier) competitions for staff with contracts limited in time. TA categories have existed beforehand and still do until now for the same purpose of recruiting staff for a limited period in time.

TA positions are mostly filled for vacancies for which either a very specific job profile is sought (and not found, thus to provide flexibility in the recruitment procedure) or for example for posts in cabinets. As a TA you have the same salary and working conditions as permanent staff. There can be Secretary Clerk, Assistant as well as Administrator TAs.

TA positions are rather rare and it is not easy to get such a position. To my knowledge, Directorate-Generals in the Commission have a quite limited number of TA positions that they can fill in well justified cases (issues with recruitment, need to keep a CA for one more year, so in this case they receive a one year TA contract). As I said, I had the impression that they are frequently used in the context of cabinets. Participants in the Commission’s Junior Professional Programme (JPP) are also recruited as TAs. As a TA you have access to some internal competitions that may not be open to CAs.

The CA category is generally better known. You used to have competitions just like for the regular permanent official competitions, then for a limited period of time CA positions were filled without any competition at all and now there is the current system where applicants inscribe themselves into a database and get invited to sit a computer-based test if they are considered for a position. If they pass, they are officially in the CA database of their function group for which they took a test and can be recruited (also for another vacancy and not only the one for which they received the invitation to sit the test). For the CA category, there is a different salary grid.

In terms of time limitations, I think you can hold a CA position only for 6 years per institution (longer in the EEAS). For TA positions, I think a 7-year limit applies but they may be extended for a longer period in special cases. Not sure though. You cannot combine the 6-year CA and then 7-year TA scheme. The only thing that is sometimes done is that a CA can receive a one year TA contract after his/her 6 years.

Hope that helps a bit.

Thank you very much for this

145288 Thu, 03/11/2021 - 00:40

Thank you very much for this insight!

Last year I've applied for AD6 and I went through the selection process till to the final step but, I could not get into the final reserve list. Now there is this FG IV position out that in terms of tasks is very similar to the previous one. I think that a CA (FG IV) can anyway participate in an external selection procedure for AD.

Thanks again.


Claudia Viaro Thu, 05/02/2024 - 16:18


how about the other way around? Is it possible to work as a TA for a number of years (I see most calls for 1-3 year contracts) and then apply for a CA position?


thank you