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GCHQ Recruitment Campaign To Hire Dyslexics

Sun May 09 2021

People with Dyslexia tend to have a higher ability to innovate & imagine… both of which are skills highly sought after by GCHQ

GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) have started a recruitment drive specifically targeting people with dyslexia as they have an “intuitive ability to solve complex problems and crack impenetrable puzzles”.


The drive was launched in a podcast from NonProfit Made By Dyslexia in which Jo Cavan, director of strategy at GCHQ, said the agency was always looking for people with neurodiverse skills to counter threats to the UK.

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We're looking for people who can see something that's out of place in a bigger picture, who have good visual awareness and can spot anomalies. If they're sifting through large amounts of data from a large number of sources to prevent a terrorist attack or a serious organised criminal, skills such as pattern recognition are key. A lot of dyslexic colleagues have those strengths.

Jo Cavan – Director of Strategy, GCHQ

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Whilst people with dyslexia may struggle with reading, writing or spelling, oft times they’ve other skills that are of particular benefit to cyber surveillance firms such as spotting patterns that other might miss. That’s why, Cavan explained in the podcast, that GCHQ had four times the national average of dyslexic people in its apprenticeship programmes.


Cavan was also joined on the podcast by two colleagues involved in data analysis at GCHQ who explained how their neurodiversity had benefited their careers.

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I'm often looking through a lot of data and I find that my dyslexia helps me to see the bigger picture and spot patterns that aren't always obvious to everyone else around me. I also find that my approach to finding solutions is very different. I often think quite fast and outside of the box

GCHQ Data Analyst

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To aid in the recruitment drive, GCHQ have made several, key adjustments to its recruitment processes, including specific training for managers, allowing extra time for dyslexic applicants throughout the process and allowing potential candidates to bring mind maps.

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GCHQ is a perfect example of how an organisation can take advantage of the distinctive ways in which dyslexic people process information. Made By Dyslexia is working to promote the positive characteristics of dyslexics, such as their creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills. Dyslexia often goes undiagnosed in children, causing problems for them at school and losing confidence in their abilities.

Kate Griggs – CEO, Made by Dyslexia

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Sun May 09 2021

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