Ms Pandor taught at Ernest Bevin School in London in 1980;
also taught in Gaberone, Botswana from 1981 to 1984;
was a Lecturer at Teacher Education at the Taung College of Education from 1984 to 1986; Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Bophuthatswana between 1986 and 1989 and Senior Lecturer in the Academic Support Programme at the University of Cape Town 1989 to 1994
She has served as a Chairperson of the Union of Democratic Staff Associations at the University of Bophuthatswana, Mafikeng from 1988 to 1990; Chairperson of the Western Cape National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Education Coordinating Committee from 1991 to 1993 and member of ANC Western Cape Education Committee from 1991 to 1995.
Ms Pandor has been ANC Chairperson for Athlone Central branch from 1992 to 1994; Executive Chairperson of the Desmond Tutu Education Trust from 1992 to 1994; Chairperson of the Western Cape School Building Trust from 1992 to 1998; Deputy Chairperson of Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa (TEFSA) from 1992 to 1995; and then as Chairperson of TEFSA from 1995 to 1997. She also served as Deputy Chairperson of Joint Education Trust Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2001.
As ANC member of Parliament, Ms Pandor has served on the Portfolio Committee on Education and convener of a sub-committee on higher education in 1994; ANC Whip in the National Assembly between 1994 and 1995; and ANC Deputy Chief Whip in the National Assembly from 1995 to 1998.
She has also served as Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) from 1998 to 1999 and Chairperson of the NCOP from 1999 to 2004.
She was a member of the ANC NEC and member of sub-committees on Education, Communications, Archives and Political Education in 2002. She also served as Chancellor of Cape Technikon between 2002 and 2004; and a member of the Council of the University of Fort Hare from 2002 to 2004.
Prior to her appointment as Minister of Home, Ms Pandor served as Minister of Education of the Republic of South Africa from 29 April 2004 to 10 May 2009 and Minister of Science and Technology of the Republic of South Africa from 11 May 2009 3 October 2012.