GCHQ/NCF: Language Analyst (Mandarin, Persian or Russian) In person placement

Important dates

  • Application deadline date:

  • Placement start date:

Placement details


Locations: London, Cheltenham and Manchester

Start Date: Your application may take around 6 - 9 months to process including vetting

Application criteria: 

You don’t need any experience or qualifications to be a:

  • Mandarin Language Specialist (Chinese)
  • Persian Language Specialist (Iranian)
  • Russian Language Specialist (Russian)

What is required is are active and passive language skills, excellent written English, and a good knowledge of the related culture, history, religion, and politics (see brackets above).

Essentially, you’ll be passionate about the language and a proficient user (at C1 level, see explanation below) of Mandarin, Persian OR Russian language in all its forms. Your proficiency could come from growing up in a multi-lingual family, undergoing language training in the military or studying the language to a high level academically.

 At C1 level or higher, you’re able to:

  • Understand a wide range of longer and more demanding texts or conversations.
  • Express ideas without too much searching.
  • Effectively use the language for social, academic, or professional situations.
  • Create well-structured and detailed texts on complex topics.

Application Deadline: 7 May 2024 at 23:00 for Russian Specialist 

                                   29 May 2024 at 23:00 for Mandarin and Persian Specialists

How to Apply: View further details and click 'Apply' at the top of this page!

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

  • Initial application and eligibility sift.
  • In-person language tests in London
  • An in-person interview and analysis test in Cheltenham or London

About the role

With GCHQ/NCF's Lanuguage Analyst role you will receive extensive training as they are committed to ensuring you have the support and guidance you need to build a rewarding career at the heart of national security. From language events and workshops, through to acquiring professional qualifications, the strong learning culture will continuously develop you, your knowledge and skills.

As part of the selection process for MI5 and MI6, they’ll identify specific areas for development and tailor a training plan to meet your needs. When you join, you’ll have an induction and be assigned a buddy from the same language area to help you settle in and a profession head to oversee your career interests. You’ll receive training in applied skills such as interpretation, as well as gaining access to a range of language and non-language training opportunities, including our corporate Academy.

GCHQ has an equally strong development offering. Working alongside experienced linguists, you’ll be learning every day from a community of language experts who’ll share their knowledge and encourage your contributions. As well as being assigned a buddy on day one, you’ll undertake a comprehensive induction package that spans multiple areas of the business to see how P language is used. Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) qualifications can be attained, and you’ll also have opportunities to upskill which in turn will attract financial rewards.

Key skills:

  • keen interest in technology
  • problems solving
  • interpersonal skills
  • high attention to detail
  • analytical/enquiring mind.
  • good judgement
  • effective people skills.
  • collaboration/teamwork

Salary and Benefits:

At MI5 and MI6, you’ll receive a starting salary of £32,092 - £42,081 (dependent on location) with the possibility to qualify for additional language allowances once in role.

At GCHQ you’ll receive a starting salary of £32,092. Upon successful completion of the 6-month probationary period you’ll be eligible for an additional payment of £3,000 p.a. in recognition of your language skill. 

Other benefits include: 

  • 25 days’ annual leave, automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days’ public and privilege holidays.
  • Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme.
  • Personal Learning Budget (MI5 only)
  • Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business needs.
  • Interest-free season ticket loan (travel and parking GCHQ only)
  • Excellent pension scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme.
  • Facilities such as a gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars
  • Paid parental and adoption leave.
Equal Opportunities

At MI5, MI6 and GCHQ diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

We’re Disability Confident

MI5, MI6, and GCHQ are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme. This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain, and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident, we aim to offer a person-to-person interview to any candidate who self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role. This is our ‘Offer of Interview’ (OOI). To secure an interview for this vacancy, the essential criteria (in order of application process) are: 

  •  Demonstrate a strong motivation and commitment to work for the UK intelligence agencies, assessed at application form sift.
  • Demonstrate a high level and knowledge of the Mandarin language and achieve a pass in the language tests.


The internet is a part of everybody’s lives. But while it benefits millions of people, it also increases the threats we all face.

The National Cyber Force (NCF) is a partnership between GCHQ, Ministry of Defence, Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory).

NCF is responsible for operating in and through cyberspace to counter threats, disrupting and contesting those who would do harm to the UK and its allies, to keep the country safe and to protect and promote the UK’s interests at home and abroad.

Being a unique partnership construct, with each organisation bringing complimentary skills and expertise that are critical to their success, NCF believe by bringing together this uniquely diverse mix of minds that they can have a significant impact on a wide range of adversaries.

Working in cyber provides you with the chance to use your skills to their full potential and play your part in keeping the country safe. NCF need both technical and non-technical people, with both providing their own individual knowledge and experience.

GCHQ's Mission is to keep Britain safe. They bring intelligence and technology together to counter increasingly sophisticated threats. GCHQ intelligence helps keep our forces safe, prevents terrorism and crime and protects against cyber attack.

It takes all sorts of different people in different roles to help them to do that. Some are linguists; others are mathematicians. Some work in cryptography; others in project management. Some have PhDs, others have A-levels. Some of them have worked in this field before; others haven’t come close. Put simply, everyone at GCHQ is different. What unites them is their dedication to providing intelligence, protecting information and informing relevant policy to keep UK society safe, secure and successful.

Next steps

 Click 'Apply' here or at the top of this page!


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