Britain’s MI6 spy agency seeks evolved candidates in first TV recruitment advert

MI6 is keen cast off its macho James Bond image and recruit a more diverse workforce to the secret service. (Reuters)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Britain’s MI6 spy agency seeks evolved candidates in first TV recruitment advert

  • MI6 has reported an upsurge in interest from applicants following intrigue over the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, blamed by Britain on the Kremlin.
  • A senior director of the service said that bringing in a more diverse workforce would help counter the dangers of “group think.”

LONDON: Britain’s MI6 launched its first TV advertising campaign on Thursday as part of a bid to cast off its macho James Bond image and recruit a more diverse workforce to the secret service.
The brief commercial features a shark gliding through the waters of an aquarium in a shot deliberately intended to evoke the spy thriller genre.
“We are intelligence officers but we don’t do what you think. It is not keeping your cool in the shark tank, it is picking up the silent cues that matter,” a voiceover intones.
The camera then cuts to a child who steps back in fear before turning to his mother who sweeps him up in her arms.
“Understanding others. Helping them see things differently. It’s exploring the world beyond your own. And if that sounds familiar it’s because you do it every day.”
It ends: “MI6 — secretly we are just like you.”
The advert is intended to showcase the “soft” skills the service requires from new applicants and will be shown as part of MI6’s drive to recruit 800 new staff by 2021.
“The concept was to play on the Bond image but to explain very clearly that this was not James Bond,” said the agency’s head of recruitment, a mother with 20 years in the service whose name was not disclosed.
“In many respects the people we are recruiting have sets of skills that are common to many people in the population.”
She said they were looking for new intelligence officers who had a “blend of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills” combined with a “strong sense of integrity and creativity.”
Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service — the formal name for MI6 — has reported an upsurge in interest from applicants following intrigue over the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, blamed by Britain on the Kremlin.
However according to the latest official figures of March 2016 only 24 percent of senior staff and 38 percent of non-senior staff were women, while there were no BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) members among the senior ranks and they accounted for just seven percent of the non-senior staff.
A senior director of the service said that bringing in a more diverse workforce would help counter the dangers of “group think.”
“We are looking for people who are brave enough to speak up,” he said.


Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells. (AP)
Updated 35 min 16 sec ago
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Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

  • Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple

SYDNEY: British royals Harry and Meghan kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands Friday, as they hit Sydney’s famed Bondi beach for the latest stop on their Australian tour.
Expectant Meghan donned a summer dress, putting aside her high heels, while Harry ditched his usual suit for chinos as the couple lapped up cheers from Australian fans and enjoyed Bondi’s surf.
Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells and sat down on the sand for a long chat with leaders of the OneWave group, which focuses on helping people improve mental health by getting outdoors.
Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple, who have received a warm welcome from fans throughout the start of their 16-day pacific tour.
While half of Australians oppose having British monarchs as head of state, and the vast majority of Australians have carried on with business as usual during the visit, there has been sizable support for the celebrity couple at every stop.
News that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant has only made the crowds swell.
Amid a torrent of fawning press coverage declaring Meghan the “Queen of hugs” and the prince receiving “buckets of love,” the Australian Republican Movement is putting on a brave face.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very welcome visitors” the group said at the start of the trip, pointedly adding that “Australians of all ages know the difference between this wonderful event and the questions of our nation’s identity and future.”
In a 1999 referendum, 55 percent of Australians voted against replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, although polls indicate support for republicanism has grown since then.
The opposition Labor party has promised a plebiscite on the issue if it wins a general election expected in 2019.