Spy agencies chase female recruits as GCHQ announces ‘Girls Only Day’

© Kieran Doherty
UK spy agencies are keen to recruit middle-class mums and older women, it has emerged. Meanwhile, electronic snooping agency GCHQ has announced a series of girls-only activity days.

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are placing a higher value on their new recruits’ “emotional intelligence,” of the kind mid-career women can bring to the role, according to reports.

A new study claims Britain’s security apparatus would be vastly improved if recruiters were to target “high emotional intelligence, rather than focusing on standard qualifications.

Agencies are now keen to show life as a spy is compatible with raising a family.

Half the population are women so this is a recognition that the intelligence services must respond to the population within which they operate,” MP Gisela Stuart, who sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee, commented on the report to the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

The report comes days after electronic snooping agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) declared it would be holding a series of lecture and activity days for British girls aged 14 to 15.

The centerpiece of the scheme is the CyberFirst Girls Competition, due to be held in summer 2016.

The spy agency said events will be “hosted by UK universities and designed to inspire and encourage young girls to consider further study and a career in Cyber.

The stated aim of the initiative is to recruit young women into the field.

As part of the National Cyber Security Programme, this is a concerted nationwide effort to inspire a new generation of young women into a career in Cyber,” CESG, a sub-section of GCHQ, said.

Intelligence agencies have previously advertised on the parenting web forum Mumsnet in an effort to access new cohorts of women contemplating becoming spooks.