In May 2015, PwC ditched its requirement for graduates to have certain A-level results. The company said the policy could “drive radical changes” in social mobility and diversity.
Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, said that by removing the UCAS criteria from the recruitment process, it would create a fairer system in which students were selected on their own merit.
This was echoed by Stephen Isherwood, CEO of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, who suggested that PwC’s decision was an innovative step, and that other graduate employers should follow its lead.
EY has now gone a step further by opening up its graduate scheme to anyone with a degree, regardless of what grade they achieved – compared to its previous 2:1. The firm takes on 1,800 trainees each year from 25,000 applicants. Of these, 1,200 are graduate trainees, 400 are undergraduates on internships or placements and 200 are school leavers.
EY will choose which applicants to interview based on their performance in online tests.
According to UK recruitment leader Dan Richards, the company hoped the new system of online “strengths” assessments and numerical tests would mean a wider range of people will apply for the 2016 scheme.
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“Transforming our recruitment process will open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background, and provide greater access to the profession,” said Maggie Stilwell of EY.
She said academic qualifications would remain an important part of the recruitment process, but the firm’s own research had found “screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment”.
Stilwell added: “It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.
“Instead, the research shows that there are positive correlations between certain strengths and success in future professional qualifications. Transforming our recruitment policy is intended to create a more even and fair playing field for all candidates, giving every applicant the opportunity to prove their abilities.”