How employable are ambassadors?

CareerExplorer rates ambassadors with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Are ambassadors in demand?

Demand in this occupation is largely determined by the number of foreign countries with which a nation has diplomatic relations and in which it maintains an embassy. In the case of the United States, although the average term for an ambassador is three years and the mandatory retirement age is sixty-five, posting length is at the discretion of the President, meaning that there are potentially frequent new appointments. Aspiring entrants to the field should note that approximately seventy percent of U.S. ambassadors are ‘career foreign service ambassadors’ who have worked their way up through the ranks of the State Department. The other thirty percent are political appointees assigned to their foreign posts by the President. As their countries’ highest ranking diplomats, ambassadors to foreign countries and the United Nations are, not surprisingly, held to very high standards of qualification. Those seeking appointments must be aware of the intense demands of the role. Much like a CEO oversees a corporation, an ambassador is responsible for the embassy. Strong and strategic management and leadership abilities, as well as interpersonal skills and intricate knowledge of domestic and foreign government policies and operations, are essential. While it is expected that most ambassadors will have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, – frequently in international relations – the most important background for this role is political or government experience, often gained in lower level diplomat or consul roles. This experience also allows prospective ambassadors to build visibility and vital relationships with government officials involved in the selection process. Already established relationships, cultural ties, or family roots in a particular country, along with knowledge of the language or languages spoken in the region, may also improve a candidate’s employability for this role. Quintessentially, ambassadors are liaisons, and each of their responsibilities demands a heightened level of political awareness, cultural sensibility, managerial talent, and understanding of both national and international mandates and objectives.