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MI6 plans to recruit more black and Asian people, says British Indian spy

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A BRITISH Indian spy working with the UK’s foreign intelligence service said the agency wants to recruit more people from black and Asian backgrounds.

In a rare interview to BBC Radio 1Xtra, the MI6 director of global intelligence, identified only as Jay, said the service sought individuals with the right skills, not just Oxbridge graduates, and encouraged candidates not to self-censor.

“Not rule [themselves] out because they’ve watched, you know, No Time to Die and have seen Daniel Craig and thought I’m not sure when I look in the mirror I’m quite like him … that’s not what we want,” he was quoted as saying.

Jay said the association of James Bond with MI6 has its drawbacks, as it strengthens the agency’s brand recognition, but also attracts a specific demographic.

“Our brand is highly recognisable,” he explained. “Most people are familiar with MI6. However, this association tends to draw a particular kind of individual.”

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Nadia, a communications worker at MI6 hailing from an ethnic minority background, said people in her community had the abilities needed for Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) work.

“To be able to go out into the world and do what an SIS officer does, people in the community are literally born with these skills. These are like natural skills to us. We just have it,” she was quoted as saying.

According to the latest ethnicity pay gap report from MI6, fewer than 10 per cent of their staff come from ethnic minority backgrounds, with their median pay being 13.2 per cent lower than that of white employees.

This contrasts with the 15 per cent ethnic minority representation across Whitehall departments. Applications for intelligence positions typically occur through the MI6 website, offering starting salaries ranging from £39,709 to £50,160.

Additionally, the statistics reveal that women constitute 38 per cent of MI6 staff, yet men receive, on average, 13 per cent higher pay.

Sir Richard Moore, MI6’s chief, expressed disappointment in these figures, but affirmed the agency’s commitment to enhancing diversity, particularly in ethnic minority representation, as part of its People Strategy.

Kwame, another officer, said common portrayals might lead to the misconception that all MI6 employees are white, middle-class males, which he said was untrue.

Kwame, director of organisational development at the agency, was the first black spy to give a broadcast interview.

“The issue is if you talk about James Bond it gives you a different connotation. I’m afraid it makes you think that everyone who works here is a white, middle-class male, who is driving an Aston Martin, who likes women and all that. But that’s not true,” he was quoted as saying.

“You can see that’s not necessarily true about me. We want to reach out to all the brothers and sisters out there and say actually SIS, MI6, it’s a place for you.”

He revealed that the actual Q, responsible for the agency’s technological operations, is female, as is her deputy.

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