The new FBI director told Congress recently that the Bureau plans to add 1,000 agents and analysts by October of this year. James Comey testified before a House subcommittee on March 23 that the new hires will not fill positions lost to sequestration but will fill those lost to attrition. The director pointed out to Congress that the agency is having difficulty attracting qualified candidates, especially for cybersecurity positions.
The FBI website details their most recent employment numbers:
On October 31, 2013, a total of 35,344 people worked for the FBI, including 13,598 special agents and 21,746 professional staff. Among our employees are 15,296 women, 8,650 minorities, and 1,302 persons with disabilities.
In his testimony, Director Comey stated that the fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request included funding for 34,970 permanent positions. The positions break down to 13,050 special agents, 3,048 intelligence analysts, and 18,872 professional staff.
The Bureau is currently looking for candidates with critical skills in a number of fields, but all candidates must have a BA or BS degree. Candidates with one or more critical skills will receive priority in the hiring process. Among the skills are foreign language proficiency, intelligence experience, military experience or tactical operations experience. Traditional FBI critical skills such as law or accounting are also on the list.
Candidates for an agent position must be between the ages of 23 and 37, and a citizen of the United States or the Northern Mariana Islands. A four year degree from an accredited college is required. Waivers may be granted to “preference eligible veterans” over age 37. Candidates must have a valid drivers license and be available for assignment anywhere within the FBIs jurisdiction. There is a detailed background check.
Comey points out in his testimony that in cybersecurity, and other FBI positions, the pay may not be comparable to that in the private sector. The Bureau appeals to the patriotism of applicants, and touts the ability to “make a difference.” Still, the Directors concedes, it is a tough sell.