Report: PwC joins EY to scrap 2:1 degree entry requirement for employees to work at the firm

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PwC has removed a requirement that new employees achieve a minimum of a 2:1 at university, acknowledging that talent and potential is “determined by more than academic grades” according to Theguardian UK report.

The accounting company, a leading employer of UK graduates, said it was also removing the requirement from its internship and placement programmes.

By removing the 2:1 requirement for undergraduate and graduate roles, PwCestimates that more than 70,000 more students a year would be eligible to apply for a job. About 17% of students at university do not achieve a 2:1 or first-class degree classification.

The company said the move was about trying to attract job starters from a broader range of backgrounds “including those from lower-income households”.

Ian Elliott, PwC’s chief people officer, said: “While academic achievement has its place, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results. Talent and potential is determined by more than academic grades. Removing the 2:1 criteria will allow us to make real progress in driving social mobility of PwC recruits.”

PwC said it is confident that its in-house behavioural and aptitude testing is up to the task of assessing a candidate’s potential.

report in April from the economic thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that male graduates with a 2:2 on average earned 11% less than those with a 2:1, while female graduates were penalised by 7%.

It also found that access to “elite jobs” appears to be governed by a combination of what a student studies, where they undertake those studies and how well they do.

“Changing the entry criteria will enable PwC to further diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have the top academic achievements but have the attributes and all-round proven capabilities for a career with the firm,” Elliott said.

The rival accountancy firm EY scrapped its 2:1 entry requirement in 2015, having found “no evidence” that success at university correlated with professional achievement.

Among the biggest accountancy firms in the UK, Deloitte and KPMG still require university leavers to achieve at least a 2:1 to be considered for roles. However, they both show flexibility for applicants who narrowly miss achieving the grade.

Last year, KPMG was the first big business in Britain to set a target for the number of working-class staff, with a target of 29% of its partners and directors by 2030.

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