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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ – Success depends on great minds not thinking alike


Robert Hannigan is Director of GCHQ, the security and intelligence organisation tasked by UK Government to protect the nation from security threats. Working with partners in SIS and MI5, the agency is responsible for giving the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary the information needed for their decisions, and Robert personally attends the National Security Council to ensure that happens. Robert took over the post in November 2014. 

Robert Hannigan
Robert Hannigan

On 5th March 2015, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) published a report on ‘Women in The UK Intelligence Community’. The report examines all aspects of gender diversity across GCHQ, MI5 and SIS. It contains a number of recommendations and comments on where the Agencies are doing well, and also indicates where there is room for improvement. 

Creating an even more diverse workforce

At GCHQ we are committed to recruiting and developing the strongest talent from across the UK to serve our national security mission. This means creating an ever more diverse workforce.

As The Imitation Game highlighted, diversity has always been an important part of our success, even where we were slow to recognise it.

Need to do better at attracting female recruits – redoubling our efforts to appeal to women in STEM

We need to do better at attracting female recruits: I hope the anonymous accounts by some of our female staff published in the ISC report will show just how good an employer we are and how worthwhile the work is.

Establishing a stronger female talent pipeline is a challenging area for us, particularly given the current emphasis on technical recruitment, where we are redoubling our efforts to appeal to the decreasing number of women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) arena.

We have a vibrant and proactive Women’s Network with a refreshed strategy, new guidance for the business on recruitment and selection, and we’re continually improving our flexible working offer.

Gender diversity: A powerful distinguishing factor

I am proud of the progress the Department has made to date in recognising the power of diversity both in style and in approach – an area where improved gender diversity is a powerful distinguishing factor. There is of course much for us to do to translate our intent into the fabric of GCHQ’s workforce, but I am confident we are on the right path.

Read the Women in the UK Intelligence Community report here.


Success depends on not all great minds thinking alike

GCHQ celebrated its unique and talented workforce at a Diversity and Inclusion Festival in May 2014. A mix of displays, talks and blogs reflected the diversity of employees and emphasised wider aspects such as style, perspective, mindset and experience.


Learn more about careers at GCHQ:

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