Life at GCHQ

Collaborative. Supportive. Innovative.
We apply intelligence to every aspect of our work.

Introduction to GCHQ
It’s an environment where you exchange ideas and develop solutions with recognised experts. You’re exposed to technologies you just wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Our work culture

At GCHQ, we believe that success depends on great minds not thinking alike. Our work relies on the constant sharing of knowledge and the generation of fresh ideas. So we have a collaborative approach that recognises people’s individual strengths, respects their expertise and enables them to develop a variety of innovative solutions. Some of the people we recruit have years and years of experience in their field. Others join us straight from school or university, bringing with them raw talent that we can harness and nurture.

No matter where you’re based, you’ll find an atmosphere designed to encourage open minds and attitudes, supported by a welfare and benefits structure that enables you to be at your best. From extensive training and development that allows you to expand your skills, to the flexibility to explore different roles and the tools and technologies that enable you to do your job effectively, we’ll help you to achieve your full potential.

At our seven sites in Cheltenham, Bude, Harrogate, Scarborough, Manchester, London and Lincolnshire we offer flexible opportunities to develop a work pattern that suits your personal life, as well as a number of family-friendly policies such as childcare vouchers.

We're proud of what we do and we're immensely proud of our people. With exceptional welfare and support on offer, we'll do all we can to help you be your best- both in and out of work.  We pride ourselves on our flexible working patterns and the wide range of health and support services available.


From gaming to game-changing

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Traveller. Husband. Dad-to-be.

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"I've always had an independent streak - which is encouraged here."

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Explore our locations

    The majority of our people – over 5,000 of them – are based at our main headquarters in Cheltenham. Here you’ll find all you need for a healthy work/life balance, including a deli bar, restaurant and coffee shops – all on-site. Cheltenham is on the edge of the Cotswolds and close to the M5 motorway, so it offers easy access to many parts of the UK. With a vibrant cultural life, as well as the annual horse racing festival, it’s an enjoyable place to live and work in.

    Useful links:

    Gloucestershire Tourist and Travel Information Guide
    Visit Cheltenham

    Based on the North Cornwall coast, the small team at GCHQ Bude have access to a restaurant – complete with sea view – as well as an on-site gym. You’ll find a variety of events throughout the year, from quiz nights and cycle rides to a Summer Ball. And, with access to great beaches and countryside, the area’s an ideal location for outdoor sports, such as surfing, canoeing/kayaking, climbing and walking. With a range of arts festivals and shows, it’s also a place where you’ll find an enjoyable lifestyle and a rewarding career.

    Useful links:

    We Are Bude
    Visit Cornwall

    At our site near Harrogate in North Yorkshire you’ll find an on-site café, access to a small gym and plenty of personal and professional development opportunities. With the beautiful Yorkshire Dales on its doorstep and a thriving cultural life, including a number of annual festivals, Harrogate always has something going on. The local area is home to a variety of sports clubs, cultural societies and historic sites – not to mention the world-famous Bettys Tearooms. So it’s the ideal place to build an enjoyable life while furthering your career.

    Useful links:

    Visit Harrogate
    Welcome To Yorkshire

    GCHQ Scarborough is at Irton Moor, just two miles from Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast. We’re closely involved in a number of community activities, including supporting local charities. It’s an area full of leisure and sports opportunities, with moors, forest trails, dales and coastal villages and towns. As a popular tourist destination all year round, Scarborough’s home to a range of pubs, clubs, restaurants and entertainment, as well as the theatre where all Alan Ayckbourn’s plays are premiered. So join us and you’ll find excellent opportunities for career growth and work/life balance.

    Useful links:

    Discover Scarborough
    Welcome To Yorkshire

    If you’re a native of the North West, you’ll know all about the attractions of living and working in the Manchester area. If you’re less familiar with the region, here’s a quick run-down of what to expect here. Manchester itself is a thriving city packed with great architecture, plenty of cultural attractions and a buzzing social scene (while sport is practically a religion in these parts). It’s surrounded by numerous towns, each with their own character and attractions – housing is very affordable compared to other parts of the country, and there’s really wide choice of places to live. Transport links are fantastic and there’s great countryside (and even the seaside) within easy reach.

    Useful links:

    Visit Manchester

    Our capital is an eclectic hub, renowned for its history, art and culture, so unsurprisingly it’s become one of the top places to visit in Europe. But it’s also one of the most exciting places to live in the UK. When you move to London, you’ll be at the centre of a thriving tourist hotspot – living alongside some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.


    Those who are based at our London site are never short of things to do. Whether you want to visit the West End and hit the shops, or go to a gig and experience the nightlife, the city has it covered. But it’s not just for those who love urban life. With free spaces like Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath and Richmond Park, London has plenty of greenery for you to enjoy. And when it’s time for you to get away from it all, there are quick and easy connections to all round the globe. London is one of the best places to not only work in, but to also call home.

    Useful links:

    Visit London
    Moving to London? Ultimate 2016 Living & Working Guide

    Those who are based at our Lincolnshire site are lucky enough to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery the UK can offer. From picturesque rolling hills to the golden sands on the East Coast, the views are simply second-to-none. And thanks to this rural landscape, Lincolnshire boasts an abundance of wildlife. The Wash is one of the most significant sites for water birds in Europe, and if you’re near the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, you might even be lucky enough to see a grey seal pup being born.


    Lincolnshire is also home to some impressive historic sites, including Lincoln Castle and the impressive Lincoln Cathedral. It’s even home to the original copy of the Magna Carta. The county boasts unusual shops, quirky festivals and mouth-watering restaurants, making it an enjoyable place to live and work. NB The figures opposite are for Lincoln city.

    Useful links:

    Lincolnshire Live
    Visit England - Lincolnshire

    house price
    Population aged 18-64
    Population (2017)
    Average hours
    of sunshine
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    A rewarding place to develop

    When you join us, you’ll find there is huge scope for you to develop both personally and professionally. Many of our roles are totally unique and, from day one, you’ll have access to specific training to bring you up to speed. As an established Investor in People (IIP), we not only offer extensive learning and development to support your specific role, but we also encourage our people to explore new opportunities, supported by appropriate training. It means you can build a long, rewarding and varied career at GCHQ. What’s more, if you have a specific interest or passion that’s related to what we do, we’ll do our best to help you explore it to the full. From a personal development plan, mentors and work placements, to links with academia, industry and professional partners, we’ll give you all the opportunities you need to succeed. 

    ... we also encourage our people to explore new opportunities, supported by appropriate training...

    What our people say

    What do you most enjoy about working at GCHQ?

    I am interested in my work

    My manager is considerate of my life outside work

    I am treated with respect by the people I work with

    I am proud when I tell others I am part of GCHQ

    I understand how the work of GCHQ makes a difference to the UK

    Departments and Roles at GCHQ