MI6 turns to Mumsnet after MPs' call for a new generation of female spies


Britain's spy agency MI6 has advertised for intelligence officers on parenting website Mumsnet.

As the latest James Bond film Spectre hits the big screen, the Secret Intelligence Service is searching for the next generation of real life 007s on the help and advice website.

In addition to the adverts for intelligence officers, there are also vacancies for "software and technology specialists" on unspecified salaries and for £26,151-per year "business support officers".

It comes after the Secret Intelligence Service was urged by MPs in March to recruit a new generation of female spies from places like Mumsnet.

The website's chief executive Justine Roberts said MI6 had first put an advert on the site in May which had had more applications than any other job advertised on the website.

She said: "Being MI6 they didn't tell us whether they successfully hired from us. But they have put up three more ads so you imagine they got a good response."

Asked what qualities its members might bring to the world of global espionage, she said they were "used to having eyes in the back of their heads and being invisible, once you reach a certain age", as well as having strong intuition and emotional intelligence.

The advert for intelligence officers, on unspecified salaries, was placed on October 21, and says: "In today's world, intelligence is drawn from sources as diverse as satellites and seismic sensors, social media and SMS. Yet human intelligence, gathered in the field, will always have immense significance and value.

"As an Intelligence Officer you could play a wide range of roles at the heart of our work - from analysing intelligence to planning operations to working in the field overseas."

The ideal candidate, it says, has a record of professional achievement and a "wide range of life experiences", plus strong people skills.

It says that MI6 "brings a very human approach to gathering secret overseas intelligence, our work is all about people", adding: "This is a place where qualities like creativity, insight, curiosity, empathy and intuition are valued just as highly as intellectual ability and analytical, logical thinking."

The advert, open only to British citizens aged 21 and over, also warns: "You should not discuss your application with anyone other than your partner or a close family member. They should also be made aware of the importance of discretion."

Mumsnet forum users discussed the advert, with one, using the name Kippersmum, saying: "I'm wondering how I would blend into the background whilst trailing an array of school bags, swimming kits & a guitar behind me? I'd be hopeless doing espionage on the school run."

In March MPs said although women were entering the secret world in increasing numbers, they were still being held back in their careers by "the permafrost" of a traditional male middle-management culture.

Former Labour minister Hazel Blears, the committee member who led the report, said that a culture change was needed in the agencies to ensure that women were not restricted to certain jobs or sidelined after having children.

Among the measures she suggested was the provision of 24-hour childcare for women officers who needed to be sent abroad on missions at short notice.

The committee said that while all the security agencies had made progress on "gender diversity", women still only accounted for 37% of their workforce, compared to 53% of the Civil Service.

Among the senior ranks, 19% were women as against 38% in the Civil Service.

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