Russian Language Specialist Ref. 2810

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Cheltenham, London, Scarborough
London - Starting salary up to £39,951 | Cheltenham & Scarborough - Starting salary of £32,092 (upon successful completion of 6 months probation period, you will be eligible for an additional payment of £3,000 p.a in recognition of your language skill)

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are the UK’s Intelligence Services.  We work together to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats at home, overseas and online, including cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime.  Working across our vital missions, you’ll deliver impact at the heart of national security, all within a supportive and inclusive environment that allows everyone to thrive. 


What mark would you give your Russian? If you answered "пятерку", we want you to use your skills to protect the UK. The Intelligence Agencies are offering you an exciting opportunity to put your Russian an expertise to valuable use in one of our organisations.

You’ll use your language and analytical skills to provide intelligence insights that often have direct impact on UK government policy and decision-making. Your challenge is to seek out the important information from Russian language material and make that material accessible and understandable to others. You’ll play an active role in directing projects and driving forward investigations, working right at the heart of intelligence. It’s gripping work, which will draw on your judgement, people skills and linguistic and cultural expertise every step of the way.

At MI5 and MI6, you’ll use your knowledge of Russian to carry out core language analysis work in support of investigations and develop your own career path focusing on the areas that most interest you., be it assessments, investigations or agent running.

At GCHQ, you’ll work as an integral part of an operational team and be the first line of assessment, triaging Russian language material against the customer requirement. You’ll help identify reportable intelligence, progress operations or shape and influence Government policy. 


You’ll have learned Russian to a very high academic standard, equivalent to at least degree or C1 level.. You’ll certainly have a passion for the language - and an ability to translate its nuances into clear, well-drafted English.

Your linguistic skills need to be complemented by a good knowledge of Russian culture, history, politics, ideology and economy. You also need to combine this with an analytical, enquiring mind, possess good judgement and effective people skills.

Have a listen to a Russian audio clip here. If you can understand most of what is said, we strongly encourage you to apply!


MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have an inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes.  We value and nurture talent, and we’re committed to helping you to fulfil your potential.  You’ll receive a structured comprehensive training and development package in language, analysis and communications technology. Training will include classroom-based learning and hands-on training, which will enable you to grow your skills and perform to the best of your abilities. Upon joining us you will be allocated a development partner who will be on hand to provide you with guidance about how to carry out your role and to help you develop your confidence.  You would be expected to remain in the business area for 5 years. To help keep your language skills up to date, you’ll have the opportunity to attend internal and external language training. Upon developing your language proficiency you’ll have the opportunity to join the language capability framework which offers additional allowances to reward your skills.  

Whatever your career path, you’ll be part of a community of dedicated and talented language analysts, working together to really make a difference.


You’ll receive a starting salary of £32,092 - £39,951 plus other benefits including:

•    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 subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars.
•    Paid parental and adoption leave.


At MI5, GCHQ and MI6 diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need 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 nerodivergent 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.


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 Russian language and achieve a pass in the language tests, assessed at an in person test day in London  


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

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Your application may take around 6 - 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you to continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer.


To work at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria here

This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes. You can find out more about the vetting process here

Please note we have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.

The MI5 and MI6 role is based in London, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application. An interest-free loan via our benevolent fund is available to assist with relocating into privately rented accommodation to take up the offer of employment.

The GCHQ role is based in Cheltenham or Scarborough, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application, as we do not offer relocation costs.

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. 

Right to Withdraw Statement:  

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.  

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.