UPSC IAS vs IES: Difference in Difficulty Level of Exams, Salary, Work & More

IAS and IES are the two most coveted services in the country. Both exams conducted by UPSC, these services are much different from each other. Let’s explore the differences between IAS and IES in this article.

Jul 6, 2020 10:25 IST
facebook IconTwitter IconWhatsapp Icon
UPSC IAS vs IES: Difficulty Level of Exams, Salary, Promotion & More
UPSC IAS vs IES: Difficulty Level of Exams, Salary, Promotion & More

Most people have heard about the terms IAS and IES. However as much similar as they sound both the services are quite distinctive in eligibility criteria, Exam pattern, service pattern, and even in the work culture. While both the exams are conducted by the UPSC, Indian Administrative Services (IAS) is admitted through the UPSC Civil Services Exam, and Indian Engineering Services (IES) is selected through a separate entrance exam. In this article, we have pointed out the nature and capabilities of both these services and what makes both the services different from each other. 

What is Indian Engineering Services (IES)?

Indian Engineering Services belong to the technical service departments of the Indian Government. Just like Civil Services, this service can be joined through an entrance test conducted by UPSC. Candidates who qualify for this entrance exam find employment opportunities in the Military Engineering Service, Indian Railway Engineering Service, Central Engineering Service, etc. 

What is Indian Administrative Service (IAS)?

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the premier service of the Government of India with uniform standards of administration, non-political and secular outlook. Sir Vallabhai Patel, the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India referred the IAS as the “Steel frame of the country”. It is one of the three wings of All India Services. It is considered to be the most reputed civil service profession. Candidates who secure a rank less than 90-100 (depends on the vacancies of the year) in the UPSC Civil Services Exam are appointed as IAS officers. 

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020: 7 Effective Steps to Read Laxmikant Quickly for Indian Polity

Difference Between IAS and IES

Both IES officers and IAS officers are Class A Gazetted officers. However, the nature of their service reflects the difference in their repute and public recognition. An IAS officer holds more command over society and receives more recognition. As they are into general administration, they are closer to people and sometimes even hold control over law enforcement and judicial proceedings. They also support the legislature in ensuring the proper functioning of governmental systems.  Even an IES officer hovers between different cadres. But unlike an IAS officer, he or she will be working with projects only related to technology. Hence, outside the organization, the IES officer may not hold much power.

Some of the key difference in the selection and appointment of IAS and IES Officers




Eligibility for Exam

Nationality- Indian citizen

Education- Any Graduate

Age Limit- 21-32 years (with relaxations for reserved communities)

Nationality- Indian citizen

Education- Only Engineering Graduate

Age Limit- 21-30 years (with relaxations for reserved communities)

Exam Pattern

Three stages: Prelims, Mains & Personality Test

Three stages: Prelims, Mains & Personality Test

Exam Syllabus


Related to Engineering Studies

Prelims Exam

GS Paper I and GS Paper II (CSAT)

General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Paper (common) + Engineering Discipline (Specific discipline)

Mains Exam

9 papers (Essay+ 2 language papers+ 4 GS Papers + 2 Optional papers)

2 Papers

Limit for Number of Attempts

6 attempts 

(with relaxations for reserved communities)

No Limit

Nature of Job

Public Dealing and administration management (Diversified Role)

technical and specific with comparatively less public dealing


Same salary structure while joining

Same salary structure while joining

Average number of Vacancies

Approx. 800-900

Approx. 500-600

Despite the difference both the exams need hard work and dedication to be qualified. Both IAS and IES are the most prestigious services in the country. Explore your interests and capabilities and choose your stream cautiously. 

 UPSC (IAS) Prelims 2020: Check Subject-Wise Study Material and Resources for Revision 

Related Categories

Related Stories