UK’s international intelligence service, MI6, has launched their first ever TV ad to attract mothers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, in a bid to create a more diverse and emotionally intelligent spy workforce.
Speaking at the launch of the new TV and online advertising campaign, the agency’s chief, Alex Younger, said “We want, oxymoronically, people who never thought of joining MI6 – to join MI6,” Bloomberg reports.
The TV and online ad depicts what appears to be a black mother observing her child staring up at an aquarium full of circling sharks, as the narrator says: “It’s not keeping your cool in a shark tank, it’s picking up on the silent cues that matter.
“Understanding others, help 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. MI6 – secretly we are just like you.”
The new MI6 appeal comes on the back of a surge in applications for the spy agency, following the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, according to the Evening Standard.
MI6’s head of recruitment, known only as ‘Emily,’ said MI6 were concerned that ethnic minorities were under-represented in its ranks. Just eight percent of the spy agency’s workforce are said to be from black and ethnic minority backgrounds – all in junior roles, Bloomberg reports.
Emily said that the roles on offer require skills including emotional intelligence, mental sharpness, and integrity, and that newcomers from diverse backgrounds who are able to “challenge group think” were a prerequisite.
MI6 intelligence officers say the agency provides flexible work patterns to accommodate busy parents, as it aims to recruit 800 more staff by 2021.
In turn, Younger insists that any preconceptions of what a British spy should look like need to be re-evaluated, saying: “There is no standard MI6 officer; if you have what it takes then apply to join us. Our work is exciting, intellectually challenging, and it matters.
“Regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, I want you to consider a career in intelligence, in a service that reflects today’s society.”
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