PwC make move to dip into untapped talent

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Written on 7 May 2015 in News
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Removing UCAS scores as an entry prerequisite follows analysis of applications to the firm from students who have not achieved the normally required A Level grades. The move will enable the firm to further diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have strong historical academic performance at school, but have gone on to perform well at university and have all round proven capabilities

Key talent from disadvantaged backgrounds are set to get the opportunity to work for one of the UK’s biggest graduate employers following an announcement from the professional services industry.

Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) is to scrap the UCAS tariff as an entry criteria for its graduate scheme. It’s a move that could drive radical changes in the social mobility and diversity of the professional services' industry, and how companies assess potential more broadly.

The strong correlation that exists in the UK between social class and school academic performance suggests that by placing too much emphasis on UCAS scores, employers will miss out on key talent from disadvantaged backgrounds, who can perform less well at school.

Removing UCAS scores as an entry prerequisite follows analysis of applications to the firm from students who have not achieved the normally required A Level grades. The move will enable the firm to further diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have strong historical academic performance at school, but have gone on to perform well at university and have all round proven capabilities.

The firm's graduate programme, voted the top scheme in the country for 12 years in row, will continue to filter applications by university degree results and through online behavioural and aptitude assessments that test students more closely on their capacity to learn, personal skills and overall suitability for the workplace. This approach will maintain the high level of talent that PwC demands from its graduate recruits.

Applications to PwC’s graduate schemes rose to 25,573 last year, 17 applications for every role, this is expected to rise considerably this year, as more candidates are eligible to apply.

Gaenor Bagley, board member and head of people at PwC, said: “As a progressive employer we recognise that talent and potential presents itself in different ways and at different stages in people’s lives. Removing the UCAS criteria will create a fairer and more modern system in which students are selected on their own merit, irrespective of their background or where they are from.

 “By breaking down social barriers we will open the door to thousands of students who may have previously thought a graduate role with PwC was out of reach for them.”

 Richard Irwin, PwC’s head of student recruitment, said: “We want to target bright, talented people and extend our career opportunities to untapped talent in wider pockets of society. Our experience shows that whilst A Level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results.  Competition and assessment for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever - but those that want to get on with a career in business can do so.”

 

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