PwC received its highest ever number of applications – A fresh approach to Graduate recruitment?

Multinational professional services network, PwC, have decided to take new approach to recruitment this year, by scrapping UCAS points as an entry criteria. As a result of this decision they have received a record number of applications, with more than 41,000 students applying to 2,000 graduate, school leaver, paid internship and work placement positions. For the graduate positions, more than 23,000 applied, which was a 15% increase on last year.

Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC stated that:

“The level of interest in our student roles this year is simply astounding, especially given the fierce competition for top talent… The surge in applications, since we changed our graduate recruitment criteria, is an early indicator that efforts to attract students from wider pockets of society is working. We are seeing young people begin to rethink the career options available to them and make informed decisions about their future career.”

Richard Irwin, head of student recruitment at PwC, said:

“Whichever route someone chooses we are clear that anyone with the right talent and transferable skills, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to succeed in our business. However, recruitment standards remain incredibly high so students must consider their options early and be prepared to demonstrate their capabilities through the recruitment process.”

One of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters has made a similar move, in adapting its entry criteria to no longer require a degree classification. Accountancy firm, Ernst and Young, have changed criteria, so that a 2:1 and threefb-gradopps Bs at A-level are no longer a pre-requisite for graduate programmes.

Managing partner for talent at Ernst Young, Maggie Stilwell commented that:

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door… Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment.”

Dan Richards, Ernst Young’s recruiting leader for the UK added that:

The changes we have made to our recruitment process will help us to access the widest and deepest possible talent pools… We want to give every candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and their potential in our selection process.”

We fully support these efforts to appreciate a holistic view of graduate achievement and potential by these major employers. They have dispensed with oversimplified measuring tools, and are choosing instead to consider the breadth of talent that potential recruits have to offer their businesses.

Employers, like PwC and Ernst Young, are increasingly recommending that academic credentials alone are too blunt an instrument by which to measure candidates for jobs. The Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement. As such, it not only records individual module results, but also documents non-academic achievements, and through their Gradintel profiles, students can promote their skills and previous experiences.

Students and graduates from Gradintel’s partner institutions can access their HEAR through their Gradintel account, and the data from the report auto-populates their Gradintel profile. Employers are matched to potential employees through Gradintel, and they can use this platform to find out about any characteristics that they value in candidates.  Students and graduates that are not part of a partner institution can register with Gradintel and fill out their profiles, and likewise be tagged by employers for opportunities. Please visit to register for your free account.


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