The YouGov Spying Study Part Three: Britons on keeping secrets

Milan DinicResearch Manager
September 30, 2021, 9:23 AM UTC

The majority of Britons – six in ten (61%) – consider themselves to be secretive, with 13% saying they are ‘very secretive’.

A third (35%) don’t consider themselves to be secretive, with this applying to four in ten women (40%) and three in ten men (29%).

Seven in ten Britons (70%) who’d like to work for the security services describe themselves as secretive, compared to 54% of those who don’t want to work as a spy.

Eight in ten Britons (82%) say that if somebody told them a personal secret, they wouldn’t share it with anyone. However, 12% would tell one other person, with women being twice as likely as men to pass it on: 16% vs 7%. This is particularly the case with younger women: a quarter (25-27%) of women aged 16-39 say they would share someone’s secret with another person.

Among Britons who said they would like to work for British intelligence services, 12% would share somebody’s secret with at least one person, compared to 17% of those who wouldn’t want to work as a spy.

When it comes to their own secrets, half of Britons (49%) say they have something which they intend to take to their grave. Just under one in four (38%) say they do not.

Of all generations, those aged 60 and older – 55% - are most likely to have a secret they will never share with anyone.

And (57%) of Britons who said they would work for the intelligence services report having a secret they wouldn’t tell anyone about, while this is the case for 45% of those who said they wouldn’t work for the spy agencies.

See the full results here and here