PwC UK drops apprenticeship qualification requirements, Ireland stays at 2.1


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the UK has eliminated a long-standing requirement for new hires to have a minimum of 2.1 college degrees to expand the pool of potential hires.

However, the Irish arm of the global financial services giant adheres to the 2.1 minimum requirement for hiring entry-level professionals here.

In the UK, PwC said it brought the charges to attract people from less privileged backgrounds to entry-level jobs and internships.

Increasing diversity, including the number of employees across gender, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and socioeconomic classes, is becoming a key focus for some employers to both meet changing regulatory and reporting requirements and expand the pool of potential employees all in one tight labor market.

“Talent and potential are not only determined by academic grades,” said Ian Elliot, Chief People Officer of PwC UK. He said the move would “allow us to make real progress in promoting the social mobility of PwC employees.”

PwC also said that school leavers with an offer from the company are guaranteed their places for a third consecutive year even if they don’t achieve the previously required A-level grades. Students will receive their Abitur grades this Thursday.

Most graduates from UK universities achieve an honors grade of 2.1 or higher on their degree. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, just 14 per cent of UK graduates received a 2-2 rating last year, while 3 per cent received a third-rate degree. Over 80pc achieved a 2-1 or a first class finish.

In Ireland, EY – one of PwC’s competing ‘Big Four’ audit firms – has already – or is expecting – a more flexible admissions requirement, which states that applicants must have at least a 2:1 qualification or equivalent.

Deloitte says its entry-level candidates must have achieved, or are currently on target, a 2.1 honors degree or higher.

No grade requirement is specified on KPMG’s website, but talented and ambitious graduates from all majors are recruited.

Grant Thornton is another large accounting firm that hires large numbers of trainees each year. It also insists new hires have an advanced degree, with the site saying candidates should be on track to achieve at least a 2.1 in their degree and have strong IT skills.

While auditing and accounting firms in Ireland have traditionally recruited primarily from trade and business studies courses, most have expanded this approach with more openness to other disciplines, partly as the range of work within firms has changed, particularly the growth of technology and consulting services. PwC UK drops apprenticeship qualification requirements, Ireland stays at 2.1

Fry Electronics Team

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