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German BND chief says remote work or cellphones don’t repel new spies

Would-be spies face many challenges – from mastering the difficult technical or language skills sought by intelligence agencies to the new life of secrecy that awaits them if they are accepted. But, according to the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, his potential recruits have more down-to-earth concerns: the lack of remote working and the inability to take their personal mobile phones with them to work.

“We can’t offer some things that are taken for granted today,” Bruno Kahl, chairman of the Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in a live chat on Monday, adding that recruiting was a “challenge major” for the agency.

Remote work is “hardly possible” for agency workers for security reasons, he continued, and the idea of ​​not being able to take cellphones to work “takes a lot from young job seekers. ‘job today’.

He noted a lack of recruits for certain roles in science and technology, cyber experts and Arabic speakers, and said the BND is using “new methods” to recruit from specific target groups. He also cited a competition for skilled workers from other higher-paying employers.

“Just three years ago, before [the coronavirus]I could always say that we have 10,000 applications every year and that we can choose the best of them – which was also not enough, even at the time there were deficits,” he said. -he declares.

The BND did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment on Tuesday.

Kahl’s comments appear to reflect a broader demand for flexibility among young workers since the pandemic, as other intelligence agencies around the world adapt to the new demands of the modern workforce and step up their tactics. recruitment.

Gen Z workers demand flexibility, don’t want to be crammed into a cubicle

Last year, Britain’s three main intelligence agencies – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – announced the end of the requirement for applicants to have at least one British parent and must now only hold British citizenship. , while MI6 says on its recruitment website that its “flexible working policy means you can work around your personal commitments.

Earlier this year, the CIA said security concerns left “little chance of working from home or any other unsecured location”, but added it was aiming to improve flexibility in other ways.

The CIA has also tried new approaches at home and abroad, from posting recruitment videos on YouTube to launching a social media campaign in Russian aimed at recruiting new spies. GCHQ regularly publishes puzzles for members of the public who want to get a sense of the challenges involved in its work.

United States the federal government has also been looking for new ways to attract new talent, including job fairs and more internships, as its workforce ages.

A YouGov poll of 14 countries conducted from August to September 2021 found that 49% of workers in Germany surveyed would like to work from home at least part of the time in the future, compared to the United States, where the figure was 66%. .

Working from home also has some protections in Germany: in late 2021, a federal court ruled that commuting from an employee’s bed to their desk while working from home is considered commuting.

Injury on the way from bed to home computer is a work-related accident, German court rules

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