MI6 launching cinema campaign to attract more diverse candidates


MI6 is taking to the silver screen to attract more women and ethnic minorities to the secret service and deter James Bond wannabes.

In its first cinema advertisement campaign, film fans will be shown what spy chiefs are looking for in an intelligence officer.

The 30 second ad – which will run in London, the North West and the West Midlands from Monday – shows a flower seller who displays the skills the Secret Intelligence Service wants.

As well as being able to deal with sensitive situations, it calls for people who can instantly read emotions and are able to motivate people.

In the film, the voice-over says the woman does not work for MI6 “but she could”, before urging cinema goers to “search MI6 intelligence officers”.

The service receives thousands of applications for under 100 jobs every year, but bosses want to find recruits from a wider range of backgrounds.

They fear many people with the right skills are “selecting themselves out” because of the myths that have built up around the agency.

A career as an intelligence officer would involve targeting individuals who have access to secret information and building relationships with agents.

Although the service insists there is no “standard officer”, they must be British and hold at least a 2:2 degree.
But it says they want people with mental sharpness, emotional intelligence, integrity and in interest in foreign affairs.

MI6 chief Alex Younger said: “I’m proud to lead a world class human intelligence organisation that attracts some of the brightest and best talent this country has to offer.

“My message has always been simple: MI6’s success is thanks to our people.

“I want everyone to know that, regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, there is a future for you in MI6.

“I want people to see our advert and know that there is a place for them in our team.”
MI6 is expected to grow from 2,500 people to close to 3,500 by 2020.

It comes after Mr Younger, known as C, said the service was also returning to the traditional “tap on the back” recruitment method to boost diversity.

He told the Guardian: “I’m quite passionate about this. We have to go out and ask these people to join us. Before we were avowed as a service, that was the only way of recruiting people, a tap on the shoulder.

“That was the way I was recruited. We have to go to people that would not have thought of being recruited to MI6. We have to make a conscious effort. We need to reflect the society we live in.

“Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain. Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status. We have to stop people selecting themselves out.”

Job opportunities are posted on its webpages www.sis.gov.uk or www.mi6.gov.uk

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