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.


French football fans queue for shirt carrying second star

Updated 17 August 2018
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French football fans queue for shirt carrying second star

  • National team’s new shirts carry a second star to mark Les Bleus’ World Cup win in Russia
  • The Nike-branded strips are huge money-spinners costing €85 euros each

PARIS: Scores of French football fans queued on Friday to snap up the first of the national team’s new shirts carrying a second star to mark Les Bleus’ World Cup win in Russia.
The crowning of France as world champions unleashed a wave of euphoria across the country, helping foster a brief sense of national unity after years of tension and self-examination in the wake of attacks by militants since 2015.
“I’ll keep it all my life. It’s the second star! They made our dreams come true on the pitch,” said fan Brice Chevalier as he queued to enter the French Football Federation’s store in Paris.
France first won the World Cup, earning its first star, in 1998 with Zinedine Zidane its talisman and playmaker in an era when the team was referred to as Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-Arab), a reference to its diverse ethnic make up.
In Russia, they beat Croatia 4-2, with President Emmanuel Macron leaping for joy in the stands.
“I’m chuffed, I’ve been waiting a month for this moment,” said another life-long supporter, Jerome Cornec.
The Nike-branded strips are huge money-spinners. France’s official shirt costs €85 euros ($97).