In Summary - Civil Service - Secretary General
The Secretary General is the head civil servant of each Irish Government Department.
Civil Service - Secretary Generals typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Civil Service - Secretary General
The Irish Government is made up of 16 Departments of State. Each Department of State has a permanent staff consisting of administrative, professional, specialist and technical employees.
The Minister is the Head of the Department, and the Secretary General is the head civil servant of each Department.
The Secretary General is recommended by the Minister for that Department and appointed for a period of seven years by the Government.
Secretaries General are responsible for managing the Department, implementing government policies, delivering outputs as determined with the Minister, providing advice to the Minister and using resources appropriately and assigning specific functions, for which the Secretary General is responsible, to officers or grades of officers within the Department.
Specific duties and responsibilities of the Secretary General include:
- Managing the Department
- Implementing Government policies
- Delivering outputs as determined with the Minister
- Providing advice to the Minister and using resources appropriately
- Assigning specific functions, for which the Secretary General is responsible, to officers or grades of officers within Departments
The Secretary General also has responsibility for managing matters relating to appointments, performance, discipline and the dismissal of staff below the grade of Principal in the Civil Service.
Below the Secretary General, there are a number of Assistant Secretaries, who are each responsible for specific areas of work in the Department.
Below the Assistant Secretaries, there are many officials at varying levels of seniority.
Interests - Civil Service - Secretary General
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
- Being a visible and energetic leader who fully engages others
- Building and supporting cross functional and interdepartmental teams
- Delegating responsibility and ensuring accountability in others
- Setting challenging goals and implementing effective performance management
- Coaching and supporting others to optimise their contribution and development
Strategic Thinker - Creating a vision for the organisation & sector and anticipating the requirements to deliver it by:
- Analysing complex issues quickly and anticipating knock-on consequences
- Taking a system-wide approach and seeing connections, risks and the potential for innovation in the wider environment
- Leading on the implementation of risk assessment practices and engaging in balanced risk taking
- Showing courage in making difficult decisions
Drive and Resilience:
- Showing initiative and sustaining high levels of personal drive and energy
- Leading and managing multiple complex priorities effectively
- Speaking own mind with confidence and conviction
- Keeping perspective and utilizing personal support strategies to help maintain focus and bounce back from disappointments
- Staying positive and professional in the face of difficult situations
Entry Requirements - Civil Service - Secretary General
Secretary general (SG) appointments are made by government from a short-list provided by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) of the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) and are for a fixed term of seven years maximum.
Last Updated: July, 2014
Pay & Salary - Civil Service - Secretary General
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 175k - 185k
Last Updated: April, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Civil Service - Secretary General
No shortages have been identified for this occupation.
National Skills Bulletin 2018