Building a career in (and out) of the civil service

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LucyFgn
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Very interested to hear from current civil servants, especially those from a non-FS background.

What are your thoughts on building your career within the civil service? I'm aware that fast streamers have access to a structured programme of placements, development opportunities etc. However, do similar opportunities exist for those who aren't on the fast stream - for example those recruited as an HEO or SEO?
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ice_cube
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Hi Lucy,

I'm a former civil servant, now in the think tank world. I went in as a direct recruit (in a department that doesnt separate between HEOs and SEOs).

Fast streamers seem to boost up quickly, but a lot plateau quickly from there. You also get limited choice on your jobs, whereas as a direct entrant the world is your oyster. 7 years on friends who went in directly are at the same grade as Fast Streamers, but had a much nicer time. Fast Streamers move very quickly, which means they dont actually develop as deep a skill set as people who are there longer.

Also worth keeping in mind that there's more to work than how quickly you get promoted - staying at the same grade because it means you get to work on something insanely high profile, or interesting, or abroad is worth far more than doing something that doesnt interest you.
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Captainusa
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I joined the CS just over a year ago as an IT project manager (SEO) and plan to stay for a long time. Haven’t run into many fast streamers. There’s loads of opportunities for people to develop and build a career. I’ve done stuff such as assessing candidates for the fast stream, developmental conferences and courses to develop my professional skill set. Just had an interview for a G7 role. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it but has given me confidence to apply for other roles as only just missed the cut.
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LucyFgn
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Hi both,

Thanks so much for your responses - very reassuring and exactly what I'd hoped for.

The fast stream dynamic is quite a hard one to assess from the outside, so I'm pleased to hear it's not the only way to develop your career in the civil service. I was considering whether to take up a post at one of the executive agencies and this has really helped me make up my mind in favour of the role.
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