Department for International Trade launches recruitment drive to meet Brexit challenge

Department looks for almost 100 new staff on a three-year, fixed-term basis

By Civil Service World

21 Nov 2016

The Department for International Trade is "rapidly scaling up", according to its permanent secretary Sir Martin Donnelly, as the new Brexit-focused ministry launched a recruitment drive for almost 100 extra officials.

The DIT was set up by Theresa May in the wake of this summer's referendum vote to leave the European Union.

It has swallowed up the existing UK Trade and Investments body, formerly part of the business department, and has been handed the task of promoting UK exports and establishing a post-Brexit trading relationship with the rest of world.

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The new ministry has now embarked on a major, external recruitment drive to fill 45 higher executive officer, 30 senior executive officer, 18 Grade Seven and three Grade Six posts across a range of disciplines.

The DIT is also on the lookout for a head of media, one of two deputy director-level communications positions expected to report to the department's head of comms.

The media role will command a salary of around £80,000, according to the candidate information pack.

The SEO, HEO, Grade Seven and Grade Six roles run right across the work of department, whose work has been split into three key groups – Ministerial Strategy, Trade Policy and International Trade and Investment.

The pre-existing export guarantee agency, UK Export Finance also sits within the DIT, although it is not included in the current recruitment campaign.

Hires to the DIT's Trade Policy Group will, it says, be expected to help "develop and deliver UK trade policy while we remain a member of the EU, and as we exit the EU", including "taking over the responsibilities currently carried out by the European Commission".

This group will, the application pack says, also work to establish "a new position for the UK within the World Trade Organisation" as well as a "policy narrative for our continuing EU business".

Strategy and communications hires to the Trade Policy Group will also be asked to help the department develop "a new, distinctive strategy and narrative for UK trade policy as a whole", including "explaining that to parliament, business and wider interest groups".

Meanwhile, the International Trade and Investment part of the department – led by former UKTI chief Catherine Raines – is seeking staff for its Value, Volume and Business Operations groups, promising "demanding, delivery-focused roles" as the department works to support UK exporters and bang the drum for British business in the years ahead.

The SEO, HEO, Grade Seven and Grade Six posts are being filled on a three-year, fixed-term basis, while the head of media role will be a permanent hire.

Writing a welcome message to potential applicants, Donnelly said the new department was "at the heart of the UK’s relationship with the global economy" as the government seeks to promote exports and deliver "the best international trading framework for the UK outside the EU".

"The department is rapidly scaling up to rise to these challenges, and we are looking for motivated, skilled individuals to join our team," the DIT perm sec said.
Donnelly himself is leading the DIT on an interim basis, with the hunt for a permanent successor currently underway.

According to the latest Civil Service People Survey, DIT has among the lowest leadership ratings of any government department, scoring 31% for satisfaction with "leadership and managing change", against a civil service average of 43%.

The DIT also scored second-lowest in the "resources and workload" section of the staff survey, with an engagement score of 65%, eight points below the civil service average and just ahead of the other new ministry, the Department for Exiting the European Union.

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