In a case of move over James Bond, come on in Miss Moneypenny, a committee of MPs has called for British intelligence agencies to recruit staff from the likes of Mumsnet to address their alpha male culture.
In a report today, the Parliamentary Intelligence & Security Committee has found only 37% of the 12,000 MI5, MI6 and GCHQ employees are women compared with 53% in the Civil Service. Of senior staff, women fill 38% of posts in the Civil Service compared with 19% in the intelligence agencies.
The committee was also flabbergasted that male traits – such as who shouts the loudest – still dominate. The cross-party committee, made up of MPs and peers, acknowledged that progress is being made but only slowly.
The report states: “It is clear to us there are those at middle management level – referred to by some people as ‘the permafrost’ – who have a very traditional male mentality and outlook. This can reinforce a management culture which rewards those who speak the loudest or are aggressive in pursuing their career and does not fully recognise the value of a more consultative, collaborative approach.”
It adds: “Even during our more recent visits, we sensed that leadership values are only slowly moving with the times and the value of a more consultative, collaborative approach is not always recognised.”
In a series of recommendations, it says that the intelligence agencies should target women from a range of backgrounds, not just graduates, and should also advertise vacancies on sites for women and mothers, such as Mumsnet.
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