International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women's achievements and raise awareness against bias. What better time to explore the vital work women do at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ - the UK’s Intelligence Agencies.
We collaborate to stop threats such as terrorism, cyber-crime and espionage to protect the UK from harm. MI5’s mission is to protect people and places here in the UK. MI6 do the same thing, but overseas. And GCHQ work to keep the real and digital world safe.
Each organisation has a different focus, but one thing we share is a love for the latest technologies. Developing and working with the kind of tech that doesn’t exist anywhere else, we stay one step ahead of any dangers posed to the UK. And to remain cutting-edge organisations we rely on peoples’ passion for STEM - no matter their gender. That’s why we’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, too.
Talk to anyone about the Intelligence Agencies and chances are the first thing that comes to mind are the spies we see in film and television. The reality is quite different. The organisations are more diverse than ever, and welcome people from a whole mix of different backgrounds. And there’s a variety of different roles and pathways to join for people with equally varied experiences, insights and perspectives. That way, the Intelligence Agencies can best represent the country we serve.
That means if you identify as female and have a talent for science, technology, engineering or maths, who’s excited and motivated to explore its potential capabilities – there’s almost certainly a career for you here. But don’t just take our word for it. Amy (not her real name) was once a graduate with the same misconceptions many people have.
“I was scrolling through the endless amount of job adverts from my university careers fair, and my dad actually saw the advert and told me I had to go for it. I immediately ruled myself out and made some kind of joke about how I would never be good enough or right for it.”
But since applying and successfully joining MI5 through a graduate scheme, they’ve come to realise it’s a far more diverse and inclusive organisation than many people realise.
“With every stage of the application process, I became more intrigued and more interested. However, I always had a voice in the back of my mind telling me I wasn’t the right fit, and it would never work out. I met so many lovely people from across the recruitment department through my process, but my inner cynic was sure the only people working for the organisation were middle aged, white, Oxbridge-educated men in grey suits! I am pleased to say how wrong I am on that point; our workforce is and is becoming more and more diverse and everyone is so welcoming!”
From software engineers designing intuitive user interfaces to evaluation engineers getting to grips with the latest gadgets, women are helping the Intelligence Agencies keep the UK safe. You’ll get to work with innovative technologies and apply your STEM skills to real-world challenges. Plus, there’s a huge amount of learning and development, as well as general day-to-day support, available to you. So, you’ll be pushing boundaries while furthering your career.
Emily (also not her name), also joined via a graduate scheme. She said:
“I love that the culture is to ring up someone in any part of the business to ask a question, and if they can’t help they will direct you to someone who can. The willingness to help is something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. I am also constantly surprised by the breadth of opportunity across the agencies, from different job postings, to Learning and Development courses to clubs and societies, there’s an opportunity to do anything!”
If you’re a graduate (or you’re soon to become one), you’ll be pleased to know that for the vast majority of roles, any degree is accepted. Only a handful require specific degrees or qualifications, such as the Technology Graduate Development Programme and Software Engineer roles. But for others, like the Cyber Insights Summer School, they’ll look for certain skills and experience that can be transferred.
Interested? Sign up to the Early Careers Network to gain access to job alerts, events, newsletters and extra information about joining the Intelligence Agencies. Whether you’ve graduated or not, it’s a great way to keep on top of the latest opportunities and ensure you don’t miss your chance to begin an exciting, fulfilling career in STEM.
Sign up for the Early Careers Network here: https://recruitmentservices.applicationtrack.com/vx/lang-en-GB/mobile-0/appcentre-1/brand-5/xf-b412c04c50e1/candidate/so/pm/3/pl/7/opp/2395