back to article GCHQ is having problems meeting Osborne's 2020 recruitment target

Blighty's surveillance and security agency GCHQ is facing significant challenges in meeting the government's targets for recruitment over the next four years. Last year the chancellor promised that 1,900 new recruits would be hired by the intelligence agencies by 2020 – with the lion's share expected to head to GCHQ in …

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  1. eJ2095

    Last time i checked

    The money was crap

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last time i checked

      In addition to that, last time I checked for any job from certain security level onwards people of Russian, Chinese and other "dubious" descent and dogs were not allowed either.

      1. M.Zaccone

        Re: Last time i checked

        And it is based in Cheltenham. Increase the wages. Open up some offices in more locations. Otherwise they should STFU about recruitment issues.

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: Last time i checked

          " Open up some offices in more locations"

          they already have

          Harrogate (Menwith Hill)

          Cornwall (Bude)

          Manchester (new - location uncertain but rumoured by Googel maps to be in XXXXX - I won't mention the building) (redacted)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Last time i checked

            Bude is pretty a pricey place to

            1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

              Re: Last time i checked

              Surf?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Last time i checked

                the only good thing about Bude is that it's in Cornwall not Devon!

            2. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Last time i checked - pricey bude

              Yeh - who'd want to live by the sea in Bude where you can get a 5 bedroom house for the same price as a 3 bed in Cheltenham. And I bet the beer is 3/4 the price in Bude too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Last time i checked

            Manchester? Surely not. It's not in the middle of fucking nowhere.

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Last time i checked

        Many years ago I considered applying to the Bude "station", but was informally told that even though they'd dropped the "must be a UK-born citizen of UK citizens, also UK-born" requirement from their public recruitment advertising (due to equality legislation), in practice, there was no way in hell anyone else would ever get a look-in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last time i checked

      yep the money will be as shit as any other civil service IT job. And to add to that the pension (still pretty good) but has been shafted, incremental pay increases (normally for 3 first years) have gone, promotion is very difficult to get. Yep all sounding great.

      Had an email this morning from HR to say that we won't be getting our 2015 1% pay rise until June 2016 at the earliest so just a year late then! as we're meant to get them in July

      Remind me what those other public sector workers got as a pay rise...........

      Oh yeah 11%

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last time i checked

        I had an "informal" interview there a few years ago. When we eventually got around to talking about pay I nearly fell off my chair laughing, commenting something like "You have to be fcuking joking! That's just over half of what I get from my present tight-arsed employer. Thank you for wasting half a day of my life - goodbye."

        The interviewer was most unimpressed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Last time i checked

          add to that that you then see your political masters getting 11% when you get 1% and have your pension contributions increased more than your pay rise.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Last time i checked

        "yep the money will be as shit as any other civil service IT job."

        Yep, here you go....

        http://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Gchq/salaries

        "Remind me what those other public sector workers got as a pay rise...........Oh yeah 11%"

        That was just the politicians (and the high ranking civil servants they needed to bribe to shut them up about it). No actual member of the workforce (Actual IT people, clerks, nurses, council workers etc.) got that rise, or anything like it. In fact, most of the civil service just took a small pay hit with the adjustment to NI paid by public sector workers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Last time i checked

          biggest hit has been pension contributions. I'm earning less than I was 5yr ago

    4. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: Last time i checked

      Yep.

      And even if the money was the same where do you think your young talent would rather work?

      Google, Apple, MS (even) or the government?

    5. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Last time i checked

      >Last time i checked the money was crap

      Indeed. But that's what:

      "however pay and reward packages for staff at the intelligence agencies are under regular review to ensure that what can be offered reflects both the unique challenges the agencies face, and the high level of ability and skill required to meet them."

      means.

      If you can't translate that it into English - "we don't pay much, so we try to select people who are a bit gullible and easily flattered" - a career in the civil service is not for you.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last time i checked

      Hello GCHQ, I know we don't always see eye to eye. I don't like your sock-puppets and complain about it, you sent a virus laden email to my ten-year old kid (apparently from CBBC, from a real BBC.co.uk IP addr) in the hope of breaking-in to my networks. Hope you enjoyed the lulz.

      But maybe this will help, after all I always continue to believe in defending the UK against cyber-armageddon etc etc.

      Consider Estonia who similarly tried to recruit loads of cyber warriors from privy-street. They couldn't get enough, even tho' Estonia is stuffed with advanced cyber kids and everything is online there.

      In the end, they just introduced a mash-up of sunday-soldiers and a bit of a draft/reserve list of experts who - whilst they wouldn't work in the Estonian Fusion centre 24/7 - were prepared to participate for the odd weekend, or even a week at peak times/special operations. Now allegedly they are fully staffed with their volunteer rota. The amazingly professional GCHQ training that you could give the UK volunteers would also be great for defending civil/industrial infrastructure. Win Win!

      (alternatively in USA they are simply re-training Navy retirees as offensive/defensive cyberwarriors as they are RIF'fed, do we have enough soon to be ex-forces to do that?)

      greetings to the team!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting puzzles on social media & seeing who solves them is a little transparent too.

    They are going to monitor the winners for the rest of their lives if they refuse the job offer that's fairly obviously going to come at the end.

    Apparently if you're smart enough to solve the puzzles, you're too stupid to see the trap.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

    However they dress it up.

    I wonder if the story from a while back, about the FBI giving career talks in schools to try and stop techies having the odd toke is relevant here ? The issue being there was a shortage of toke-free techies when it came to recruitment.

    1. Smooth Newt Silver badge

      Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

      And the sort where you have to leave big blank patches in the "experience" section of your CV.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

        The sort where you are paid £X irrespective of how good you are or what you do.

        But after 3 years you can be promoted to Intermediate Science Officer ( lower grade ( type B ( sub section III)) [class 2b] and receive a 3% pay rise, unless a future government introduces a pay freeze.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

          But after 3 years you can be promoted to Intermediate Science Officer

          But only if you pass the selection panel. And (certainly when I threw my rattle out of the pram and left) that involved three self important knob ends asking questions about their particular specialism, and anybody outside that little circle would know somewhere between little or nothing about the topic.

          But that's the great thing about the civil service - it can proudly boast of its recruitment and retention policies "we do not discriminate on the grounds of ability".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

            as well as getting rid of our progression points they sneaked in a change to the pay on promotion that you would get (in the unlikely event of gaining merit promotion that is) You used to get a 10% pay rise, now changed to 5%. 5 fecking % not even worth getting promoted for!

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

        You mean you don't even get to work at Universal Exports any more?

        The threat of not having a work history must be a good way to retain people.

        1. billse10

          Re: Bottom line: It's a civil service job.

          "The threat of not having a work history must be a good way to retain people."

          Oh, I don't know ... I can think of quite a few MPs who would see it as a positive advantage if no-one remembered some parts of their history ...

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    People are keen to join us in our work

    I think they suffer from the safe problem as parliament - the people that are keen to join are the least suited to the role.

    The government used to have a list of people with skills crtical to the maintenance of the post-apocalypse regime who would be taken at gunpoint (lest they prefer to be with their families in their last moments) to the nearest bunker in the event of an imminent nuclear attack. In the aftermath of the FBI-Apple battle and the extraordinary obligations of RIPA, I wonder how long it will be before people with specialist skills find themselves similarly obliged to assist our dear leaders.

    1. EvilBanana

      Re: People are keen to join us in our work

      Or they see what you're doing as profoundly unethical and wouldn't do it for any amount of money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People are keen to join us in our work

        > Or they see what you're doing as profoundly unethical and wouldn't do it for any amount of money.

        *Ding*.

        Despite the fact that I live (relatively) near Cheltenham, there is no way in hell I'd ever go and work for GCHQ.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People are keen to join us in our work

      If it's like elements of the MOD and such there are some good people there, but I get the impression they are hampered by the civil servants, and the more politic playing officers. Some of them aren't exactly fans of the level of spying either, even when they work in some of those branches.

  5. EvilBanana

    I love UK...

    ...which is why I don't assist America by helping them spy on English businesses...

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: I love UK...

      Essentially it's not a civil service, but a civil disservice job. While on many civil service jobs you can go home knowing that you made the world a tiny little bit better, when working for the GCHQ you know you made it somewhat worse.

  6. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

    Or it could be that the cyber talent is pissed of with the Spooks

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

      The police have just announced that they are planning to deal with drug violence here by:

      Introducing a zero tolerance policy (where they arrest youths of a certain skin color for walking on the cracks in the pavement) and simultaneously "earning the trust of the community" to get people to help them by turning in the naughty people.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

        Ahem. They do have other grounds, loitering with intent to use a level crossing, urinating in a public convenience, looking at the police in a funny way, walking in a loud shirt, and walking around with an offensive wife are all grounds for suspicion.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

          ...... against the same man.....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

          Mr. Kodogo need not apply.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

            "Mr. Kodogo need not apply"

            well, we cant have people coming over here from Mercer Road, taking our jobs </Brexit>

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

          Is it still an offense to carry a camera and occasionally point it at something?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Spook feel bite of general lack of cyber talent in UK – sources

            Only in a special secret security area - such as the whole of London or anywhere near a policeman or politician.

            It may be an offense to inquire about the location of special secret security areas.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Ethics

    I don't think I could bring myself to work for GCHQ with their current Big Brother "Everyone is a terrorist or paedophile" mentality.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ethics

      Everyone who liked this comment is now on a watchlist

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Ethics

        "Everyone who liked this comment is now on a watchlist"

        everyone who posts on this forum is already on a watchlist

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ethics

          everyone who posts on this forum is already on a watchlist

          You think GCHQ have the technical ability to find and read the Reg forums? I've no doubt they're scraping and storing the content along with the rest of the petabytes added to the web each day, but actually read, understand, adapt? No way.

          Obviously if you've been ordering a lot of bleach, nails and fertiliser from Amazon then they'll pick you out and follow all you do including any Reg posts you make, and then present them as evidence in your court case: "M'lud, when the defendant posted "GCC beats MS VC, but LLVM is a dog", this was a code that meant his operatives should kill the prime minister."

          1. Someone_Somewhere

            Re: Ethics

            > ordering a lot of bleach, nails and fertiliser

            If you weren't on a bot-autogenerated watchlist before, you certainly will be now.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ethics

            You think GCHQ have the technical ability to find and read the Reg forums?

            Er... you might notice TheReg website is entirely unencrypted, even though they've been repeatedly asked to provide HTTPS. Using HTTPS on TheReg bounces you back to the unencrypted form.

            Do you think that's accidental?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Ethics

              Obviously, since only terrorists use encryption, non-encrypted sites can't be terrorists and so http is the perfect way of el'reg going under GCHQ's radar

              How else to keep the plans for the post-pub nosh fuelled intercontinental ballistic bofh secret ?

            2. Someone_Somewhere

              Re: Do you think that's accidental?

              <tinfoil> Or is el Reg just one big honeypot? </tinfoil>

          3. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Ethics

            Nah - tried something like that a few years ago -

            Iron oxide, aluminium powder and magnesium ribbon all ordered in the space of 5 mins through ebay.

            No knock on the door - other than the postie - the iron oxide jiffy wouldnt fit therough the letterbox.

            Luckily the post time meant I sobered up before removing the tree stump next to the fence with the thermite....

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