Giving a keynote speech at the Women In IT Awards this week, Sir Alex Younger made a bid to encourage more female recruits to apply for positions at the spy agency in 2017.
Telling the audience at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London: “If any of you would like to join us, the real-life Q is looking forward to meeting you and I’m pleased to report that the real-life Q is a woman.”
Saying: “Technology now is at the core of what we do in a way that it wasn’t before.”
Younger, who took his office in November 2014, also spoke openly about the James-Bond effect on his organisation, being a blessing as well as a curse.
“It’s great in some ways because it means that all of our opponents think there’s an MI6 officer behind every bush and that we’re 10,000 times larger than we actually are.
“That’s all great, but there’s a problem because it leads to a stereotype which is of a particular kind or a particular sort of person that will join MI6.”
Despite acknowledging the fact he was wearing a tuxedo, Younger pressed the point that he wanted to diversify his workforce and recruit outside of the traditional “really posh” Oxbridge circle stereotypes.
“So success for me is a deeper, broader range of technological skills in MI6 and more diversity, in particular women,” said Younger.