As its powers grow, cyber intelligence agency looks to fill hundreds of job vacancies

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Canada’s remote signals intelligence agency says it’s struggling to find Canadians to make full vacancies as it grows its presence online.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) sowed another head last year when it launched the Canadian Core for Cyber Security.

The centre leads the government’s response to cyber deposit events, defends Ottawa’s cyber assets and provides advice to Canadian industries, subjects and citizens on how to protect themselves online. An average day can see the hub’s team block innumerable than 100 million malicious infiltration attempts.

Those roles ramp up the pressure on CSE to hire the best hackers and codebreakers Canada’s universities can fit out. A number of internal CSE employees also shuffled over to the centre to get it up and race, creating vacant positions.

“We don’t necessarily know all our needs right now. We induce a lot of vacancies because we’re growing massively,” said Bruno Gervais, controller of the Communications Security Establishment’s recruitment team. He made a presentation at a employment fair in Ottawa Friday aimed at recruiting people in the intelligence and confidence fields.

“We don’t have enough technical candidates for a number of positions we procure. This is a bigger challenge.”

Gervais said CSE needs to hire there 150 full-time employees next year and roughly 300 swots to fill those gaps.

As its powers grow, cyber intelligence agency looks to fill hundreds of job vacancies
The secretive Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is headquartered at a complex in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Clip)

To work for the CSE, an applicant has to be a Canadian citizen and pass a top secret clearance deal with, and cannot have a criminal record. The stringent background check unaccompanied can take more than a year to complete.

The CSE’s first pitch period Friday morning was packed, with roughly 150 people shoved into limited seating and dozens of others standing in the back to discover the recruiters’ pitches.

The audience was split between students and grey-haired old hands. Some wore suits. Others sported hoodies and bedhead.

Low lease ratio

Gervais said that for every 100 applications he accede ti, only one will make it through the process — two if he’s lucky.

The CSE isn’t alone in its labour to hire new recruits.

Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Military talents (CSIS), has flagged issues with recruitment and retention, while the Sovereign Canadian Mounted Police has also cited its need to hire multitudinous cyber experts.

Both agencies also had booths at this year’s profession fair, along with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Pivot of Canada (FINTRAC, which deals with financial intelligence) and Clear-cut Safety Canada.

“There’s a lot of competition. All the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and all these startups. The demands are deep down high. The universities are kind of adjusting right now,” said Gervais.

“Most of the companies must the same problem right now, not just in the government. The fact that we’re looking for Canadian city-dwellers doesn’t help because there’s a lot of non-Canadians in all these programs in universities.” 

The CSE has strove to get creative with its recruitment strategies. In the fall it partnered with an Ottawa-based body that runs recreational “escape rooms”; those who escaped the demo dwell on time and cracked a bonus puzzle got a chance to meet with a CSE recruiter.

“We quiet have a problem letting people know who we are,” said Gervais. “The burliest barrier for us is people don’t know who we are.”

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