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Why picking ambassadors from boardrooms won't make recruiting the brightest and best to Whitehall any easier

The Foreign secretary wants some ambassador roles open to external candidates. Credit: PA

So you are a super, bright 22-year-old with a great degree and you are weighing up job offers from Goldman and Google, which immediately pay you 15 times the starting pay at the Foreign Office.

Over 20 years they will also pay you 100 times what can be earned in public service.

In addition you have just heard Jeremy Hunt announce he wants business leaders to be our ambassadors.

So if you fancy being our person in Washington, Beijing or Paris, where is the rational place for you to start your career - Whitehall - where you will struggle to own a home in London til you are 40 or tech/finance/oil where you may earn enough to retire at 45?

It has been hard enough over the past 30 years recruiting the brightest and the best to a life of public service, given the huge rewards available in the private sector.

And the foreign secretary’s plan to bring in putative commercial skills right at the top won’t make it any easier.