Last year, the CIA received 120,000 applications for a few thousand jobs. That's a lot of interest in an organization with fewer than 20,000 employees. This year, the rate of applications coming in is up 50 percent over last year. The number of applications has been increasing like that ever since September 11, 2001. Helping that happen are the millions a year are spent on radio, TV, print and Internet advertising. Over 2000 job fairs are held, usually at colleges.
Most of the current CIA employees were hired since September 11, 2001. CIA employment data is classified, but it appears that the actual number of employees has increased about 30 percent since September 11, 2001. But there have been a lot of retirements, and dismissals, in the period. The agency has been much more demanding over the past eight years. More veterans are being fired, or forced to take early retirement. Despite all the applications, over 95 percent never make it past all the screening. And then, there's high attrition during the first few years.
Many are called, few are selected, and even fewer survive for very long.