Part 1 -- Introduction
Part 2 -- The Intelligence Job Market From 20,000 Feet
Part 3 -- The Good News!
Part 4 -- Even Better News!
Part 5 -- Beyond The Big Three
Part 6 -- Beyond Borders
It has been my pleasure over the last several years to get to know a number of intelligence professionals in other countries. I recently reached out to some of them to ask them what the job market was like for intelligence professionals in their neck of the woods. I received some good replies that I thought were worth sharing.
(Note: I have lightly edited these responses for length and clarity (ie spelled out abbreviations, etc). Chris, Nimalan, Dalene; if I messed up what you were trying to say in the process, please take me to task in the comments)
by Chris Pallaris, Head of Open Source Intelligence at the International Relations and Security Network, Zurich, Switzerland
For my part, jobs are certainly to be had in Europe, both in the public or private sector. One caveat: the economic crisis has meant more people staying in university longer. The research positions in a great many university-affiliated think tanks are tough to land and are likely to remain so for a little while longer.
The problem, however – and this has been echoed by a number of people I have spoken to - is not attracting applicants but rather finding those with the qualities and skills that are really in demand. The problem here is as much one for the employer as it is for the employees.
Students may leave university with good subject or region specific knowledge. But they lack the IT and information literacy skills that will allow them to jump in at the deep end. More notably, many lack the tact to deal with the sensitive issues that invariably cross their desks (a consequence of letting it all out on Facebook as a matter of course perhaps?). It’s a little unfair to expect them to have these skills from the word go, but in the current climate... My advice as an occasional recruiter: a little old school courtesy would go a long way towards making up for any skills shortages.
Also, it’s important for young graduates to note that intel jobs increasingly come in lots of different flavors: as information officers/knowledge managers, in policy planning units, as market researchers etc. All make use of intelligence skills. Moreover, there is a growing call for people who can think about the future (scenarios, foresight, etc.) without having smoke pour from their ears.
In the “competitive intelligence” domain, my (albeit limited) experience suggests that the best “spooks” and strategists have served a long(ish) apprenticeship in one or more departments (research, planning, marketing etc.) before graduating to a competitive intelligence role. Knowing the business or industry you’re in is part and parcel of being able to survey the market, identify trends, anticipate threats, etc. That may be something worth passing on.
I would also proffer the following advice: a good job as an analyst, researcher, desk officer, etc. in a lowly but effective department is far better than a sexy sounding intelligence job in a dysfunctional agency. The important thing for young graduates is to be around people who can teach them how to get things done and not just how to navigate the political rapids.
By Nimalan Paul, Manager, Infiniti Research, Mysore, India
Regarding the job market for intelligence analysts in India, I am no expert but here is my take based on what I have seen, read and heard.
National security -
Analyst jobs are possible through positions in RA&W or the IB. Entry into these organizations, like other Indian government organizations is through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The UPSC recruits people for government services ranging from typists to scientists all year round through written tests and interviews across various cities and towns.
I haven't been tracking this for long but have never come across specific requirements for IB or R&AW. What I understand is that people, once selected through the UPSC for a certain "grade" of employment, are then moved on to junior level positions in IB or R&AW. So, in effect, what I understand is that the UPSC recruits for a certain grade of officers who can get drafted into the IB/ R&AW or if luck has it, get into the Indian Postal Service as well (incidentally an ex director of R&AW was previously head of the Indian Postal Service).
Apart from this, the senior officers of R&AW and IB get deputed from the Indian Police Service (IPS) and to some extent from the IAS (Indian Administrative Service). The IPS is the point of entry for someone to reach the upper echelons of the Indian police force. An IPS officer, for instance, starts much higher in the hierarchy and moves ahead faster than a police officer who started as, say, a constable. Entry to the elite IPS / IAS is by means of a rigorous examination and interview.
Once selected, these officers are trained in an exclusive training school and are considered the creme de la creme of Indian youth and groomed for top government roles. Having an IPS or an IAS tag to your name is also highly prestigious. The point is, if you have an IPS tag you might serve in a local police force but then there are very high chances of being deputed either to the R&AW or IB. R&AW and IB have their own training programs for analysts, operatives, and the like which the IPS officer would undergo.
R&AW is also supposed to have its own cadre system like the IPS / IAS called the RAS (Research and Analysis Services) but I have never seen an advertisement or heard anything much about it.
Law Enforcement -
Apart from the police force with its various divisions, we also have the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is something similar to the FBI. Recruitment to the above is also through the UPSC. They have their own training academy in Gurgaon near New Delhi. In the end since its all government service, CBI officers can be deputed to IB and R&AW and vice-versa.
This is, by far, the easiest way to get into intelligence analysis and very transparent - unlike the others. However, not many companies have a competitive intelligence (CI) division and it is only big multinational corporations who have a team of approx. 4-5 people to take care of their intel needs. Examples that come to mind are Oracle, SAP and so on who have teams of less than 10 people to take care of intel needs.
However, from what I understand, recruitment is essentially internal - mainly from the sales / marketing teams because they would know the competition better. A CI executive from a big corporation whom I had the chance to speak to said his job mainly involved helping Sales close deals and since he himself had worked in Sales in the past, it helped.
The other option is to work for market research firms, otherwise referred to as KPO firms (Knowledge Process Outsourcing firms). They need analysts and India has a lot of these KPOs (the biggest being Evalueserve which, incidentally, exhibited at the SCIP Conference this year). These are not pure play CI firms (the word CI is relatively unknown here) and do a lot of market research and other activities for European and US clients. So, in effect, you do not have a specific CI analyst but an analyst who also does CI! Therefore there are very good chances that there are no dedicated CI processes, tools and techniques in these organizations.
To sum it up, in India, there is no clear field of work called "intelligence analysis" nor is there a clear tribe of people called "intelligence analysts" except for government service and they never talk about it.
By Dalene Duvenage, Owner, 4Knowledge Analysis Solutions, Johannesburg, South Africa
What is growing is the private sector's investigation or "intel" units. They would normally have investigators with support personnel at the beginning, until they realize or are told about the benefit of having dedicated analysts. Sometimes people from statutory intel will be appointed as managers in these units and they have experience with the benefits of dedicated analysts.
Those in the private sector having the job description of analyst can be found in the banking sector or competitive intel market, with all the variants of names for what they are actually doing. The biggest growth is in the counter-corruption, crime investigation and risk management units of our local, provincial or national government departments or even the private security sector, because our police capacity is so dismal.
These units are separate from the police and have the mandate to secure and prevent crime/corruption in their department or company. Most of these units at this stage do not have dedicated analysts, only investigators, but I'm busy penetrating this market (it sounds a bit self-serving, but it will benefit the profession in the end).
So, if you put the previous number of about 400 in statutory intel and these quasi analysts together it might run up to 1000? Serious thumb sucking here...
Thereafter, we coach and mentor throughout the career progression of the analyst or manager. (The learning pathway is on my website http://www.4knowledge.co.za/training.html) Those identified to be analysts or do analysis type of work will then do a proper intel analysis course. There are investigators who also attend this course, which helps a lot with the dynamics and post-course inculcation.
As they progress as analysts (and I stress the professionalization of intel analysis), they would come for further courses according to their needs and the learning roadmap. Now the idea with the college is that they could 1) do the diploma or certificate or whatever or 2) they attend these short courses which will then be accredited towards that qualification.
Also, the poor state and stigma of our intel services is definitely something that the connected and inquisitive new generation keep in mind. As with the US, we're also bleeding 45 -60 year old veterans as well as some of the new generation that just could not fit into the paranoid, stove pipe, restrictive culture of our intel. This for me, is the saddest. Which just reinforces that intel has to change, and FAST!
Next: Going It On Your Own