MI5 Director General Andrew Parker joined a discussion this week about the importance of gender and diversity in making companies stronger.
Mr Parker attended a meeting of the 30% Club in central London on the evening of Tuesday 20 September to share experiences with other organisations who are reaping the benefits of diversity.
MI5's ultimate goal is for its workforce to be fully representative of the UK population. In five years it is aiming for 45% of staff to be female against the current level of 41%.
Mr Parker commented:
"It's my experience that the more diverse MI5 is, the more effective we are in our mission to keep the country safe.
"We need to draw on the richest mix of talent available - whoever and wherever they are - because innovation, perspective and quality always come from diversity and are essential to our job.
"In protecting the UK, MI5 is also protecting values and freedoms enjoyed by everyone and it is right that we reflect the society we protect.
"This is why it's so important that we keep up our efforts not just to recruit even more talented women but ensure all of MI5's people can develop, thrive and give their best. That makes the UK safer."
Over recent years MI5 has made strong progress becoming an even more diverse and inclusive workplace. It featured in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2016, received Business in the Community gold standard awards for gender and BAME equality and is currently Stonewall's 'Employer of the Year'.
To help achieve its goals MI5 has begun using more varied advertising channels to recruit more women. It also offers mentoring and coaching to strong performing female staff to encourage them to apply for promotion.
The 30% Club was formed in 2010 with the goal of achieving 30% women on boards of FTSE 100 companies.