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Intelligence analyst: Salary and conditions

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  • Starting salaries for the three agencies (Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) , Security Service (MI5)  and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) ) are in the region of £25,500 plus benefits.
  • There are opportunities to progress to higher grades, with the base salary levels for the next two grades of £31,000 and then £39,000 after five to ten years' service. For all grades there are incremental annual increases in pay, plus bonus payment opportunities.
  • Intelligence analysts work a typical 37-hour week although they may be expected to work extra hours at times of pressure or during crises.
  • The agencies offer a range of benefits including pension schemes, childcare benefits and sports facilities.
  • Job sharing, as well as part-time and flexible working arrangements are available, as are career breaks; self-employment and freelance work are not permitted.
  • The male/female ratio of intelligence analysts is split reasonably evenly.
  • Location of jobs is limited to where the agencies have their main offices. GCHQ is based in Cheltenham but has other key facilities in Cornwall and Yorkshire. The headquarters for MI5 and MI6 are based in central London. MI5 has recently established regional offices in the UK, although opportunities in these areas are very limited. MI6 offers the chance to spend considerable time working overseas.
  • New staff usually start work at the agencies' headquarters, although there will be opportunities to work elsewhere in the UK and overseas after several years' experience. Staff are not permitted to holiday in a limited number of countries.

Intelligence analysts working for the above mentioned agencies are bound by many of the same rules, terms and working conditions of other government departments. The key difference is the secrecy of the work. You will not be able to talk about your work to friends and family and in the case of MI5 and MI6, you can only reveal your employer to immediate family.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by Mark Powell, University of Bristol
December 2012

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