It’s not James Bond, or even Spooks, but it does offer a variety of opportunities for graduates, as generalists (for which any degree subject is acceptable), linguists or technical specialists.
The three main recruiters of graduates into intelligence work are the Security Service, better known as MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
All of these organisations have strict security, nationality and residence criteria for recruitment: see their websites for details.
MI5 (The Security Service)
MI5 is responsible for protecting the UK against covertly organised threats to national security. These include terrorism, espionage and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It also provides security advice to a range of other organisations.
Staff roles cover a number of areas including investigations, languages, technology, surveillance, communications, information and administration. The MI5 Graduate Programme recruits graduates into three roles: Intelligence Officer; Intelligence & Data Analyst and Technology. There are also opportunities for Foreign Language Analysts, who work in a wide range of languages and dialects, including Arabic, Urdu, Somali, Punjabi, Pashto, Dari, Turkish, Spanish and French.
MI6 (The Secret Intelligence Service)
MI6 works secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and gathering intelligence. We help the UK identify and exploit opportunities as well as navigate risks to our national security, military effectiveness and economy. We work across the globe to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and prevent the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.
Career opportunities include intelligence officers, business support, corporate services (such as HR and finance), science & technology and linguists. See full details on MI6 career opportunities.
GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters)
GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters - national intelligence and security) is the government’s expert in cybersecurity, using technical expertise to provide intelligence, protect information and inform government policy.
Graduate roles include intelligence analysts, mathematicians, software engineers, systems engineers and designers, communications technology analyst. Their Cyber First programme offers a bursay and work experience for 1st year, UK National, Science, Engineering, Maths or Technology students.
Find out more
Other Opportunities in Intelligence
- British Army Intelligence Corps
- Tax roles
- RAF Intelligence Officer
- National Crime Agency (NCA) - officers work in areas including cybercrime, kidnap and extortion and human trafficking
- University of St Andrews Careers Wiki on private intelligence companies