NEWS + ADVICE
Intel Community Employment Demand, Salaries and More
A discussion with Mike Bruni, Leidos Talent Acquisition Manager, on the state of the Intel community hiring landscape.
Is There a Difference in Employment Demand for HUMINT vs SIGINT vs All Source
I believe all of these flavors of intelligence are in high demand. I don’t know that one outdoes the other as far as demand goes. I do think what we see is a more competitive market for this type of experience. More competitive in a sense that in many areas we have a surplus of qualified candidates all vying for the same position. In others, we have a void of candidates.
It’s actually not just the skill set. It’s a combination of the skill set plus a particular type of clearance. Right now we have a surplus of All-Source Analysts with TS/SCI Clearances. There is a void of All-Source Analysts with Poly Clearances.
A few years back there were many more programs based on volume. Today we are seeing smaller programs with more focus in specialized analytical areas. Many programs in the past were based on high volume hiring (Services Programs). More budget, larger scope, etc. at the time. Now we see smaller programs for the same talent. Thias has results in a surplus of candidates in some skill set areas.
I can’t say that I see more experience coming out of the services than I’ve seen before due to changing priorities. I’ve seen the flow pretty consistent. Tomorrow may bring something different.
To sum up, I think the market right now is highly competitive for these types of skills, but clearance type is a factor. Many times firms in the industry have to consider this experience with different levels of access, which makes finding qualified candidates with the appropriate clearance more competitive.
Which Skill Sets are in Less Demand in the Intel Community
What I don’t see as much now as I did a few years back is demand for the functional areas of our business — Finance, HR, Contracts, Procurement, etc. With the downsizing of the industry unfortunately we tend to see the largest hits and cuts in these areas. Unfortunately these types of positions are typically overhead positions and in a reduced federal funding environment, they tend to take the brunt of the cuts. During the peak of the industry about 8-10 years ago, these skill sets were in much more high demand.
Are There Alternative Career Paths for Transitioning Intel Professionals
This is an interesting question and one that I get often. From experience, most of the HUMINT types of folks that I meet tend to stay in the business. I have also seen folks with HUMINT experience make great sales people. HUMINT professionals have a great understanding of people. Their ability to sell is there, they just need to develop it and want to do it. I’ve also seen HUMINT Professionals gravitate towards corporate security as well as international risk careers, etc.
I have seen many folks with analytical backgrounds continue in other analytical areas such as big data, data analysis, etc. All forms of Intel Analysis can translate into other analytical roles in the commercial market.
Which Non-Cleared Career Paths Should Transitioning Intel Professionals Consider
I mentioned two in the previous question, sales and corporate security. I know that here in the DC Metro Area we see this type of experience leave government service and head to the private sector performing a similar function.
I don’t believe we give enough thought to the intel professionals leaving the area. Folks leaving the DC Metro Area and relocating to an area outside the beltway comes with many, many different career choices. This is the most challenging aspect of transition from what I’ve found with folks. The ability to translate your CI skills for example in order to parlay it into a commercial type of career is challenging. It takes much research, assistance from folks in that particular industry, etc.
Most of the CI folks that I meet who move into commercial opportunities tend to be drawn to corporate security, competitive intelligence, assessment analysts, etc. Most of these functions you will find in Fortune 1000 companies.
Do Different Intel Skill Sets Have Particular Strengths or Weaknesses
I’m not one to ever generalize. Certainly one can probably make the case that they have interviewed an analyst and found them to be introverted or saw a detailed resume, etc. I think what anyone needs to do in a career search is really give some thought about what they want to do, where they want to do it, and who to do it with.
If an analyst interviews in an environment that matches their skills, preferred work environment, preferred organizational culture, I believe there would be chemistry regardless. Most companies will hire for fit. Since our industry tends to hire folks from the community, we tend to share similar cultures, familiar faces, etc. Much of the hiring is done on reputation. It’s a small community when it comes down to it.
Are Salaries for Intel Professionals Increasing
It really depends on your skill set. I will say that many skill sets in the community, particularly analysis, have taken a salary hit. I’ve seen some decrease by as much as 40%. I wouldn’t say that they have decreased across the board, but certainly you can’t expect to make the money today that you did 8 years ago.
The industry has changed, the market has changed, etc. We also have less opportunity today and more talent in a number of areas. So the basic rule of supply and demand has led to the decrease in salaries. Also, since customer budgets are tight, we as contractors tend to compete for the lowest price, driving down market rates. Unfortunately sometimes it’s a race to the bottom.
Is There Demand for Intel Professionals Outside the DC Metro Region
From my experience and from what I see in the market, the highest employment for Intel Professionals is the National Capital Region. That I-95 corridor from Baltimore to Quantico. With this being the capital of the US, it is only natural that this is the area with the most opportunities for intel professionals.
Typically where there is a DOD presence we see an uptick in demand for certain Intel skill set areas. Geographic areas that come to mind include Tampa, FL, Dayton, OH, Colorado Springs, CO and San Antonio, TX.
We Talk about the Intel Community as a Whole, but do Different Agencies Have Different Hiring Preferences
I think it always goes back to affinity. Certainly any customer of our industry is going to find someone that knows their culture, trade, systems, etc. more attractive. Also as mentioned above, knowledge of the environment is extremely attractive to us as employers. We find that retiring government employees or transitioning service members are very comfortable supporting their former organizations as consultants, etc. It actually makes for an easier transition and the industry gets an experienced professional who understands the environment of their customer. So, yes, from my experience our customers do like to see retirees and transitionees back in there spaces.This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 1:49 pm
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