PwC drops demand for 2:1 degree to expand diversity of graduate recruits

The move opens the accounting firm to more than 70,000 extra students

The move is expected to improve diversity at the company. Reuters
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One of the UK’s biggest employers of graduates has changed its minimum entry requirements in an attempt to increase diversity among its staff.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, considered one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, said it was removing the 2:1 degree classification requirement for all its undergraduate and graduate roles, internships and placements.

The move means more students will be eligible to apply and is expected to widen the socio-economic background of its staff.

“Whilst academic achievement has its place, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results,” said Ian Elliott, PwC’s chief people officer.

“Talent and potential is determined by more than academic grades and so removing the 2:1 entry requirement will open our roles to a greater pool of talent.

“We were fortunate to have over 95,000 applications to our graduate and school leaver programmes this year. This move isn’t primarily about attracting more applications but opening our roles to students from a broader range of backgrounds, including those from lower income households.”

By removing the 2:1 criteria for undergraduate and graduate roles, more than 70,000 extra students a year can join PwC’s graduate programmes, the company estimates.

About 17 per cent of students at university do not achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree classification.

“We know that competition for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever but we’re confident that our own aptitude and behavioural testing can assess a candidate’s potential,” Mr Elliott said.

PwC removed Ucas points as an entry criteria for its graduate roles seven years ago. At the time the company said it believed that academic qualifications were not the only indicator of workplace potential.

PwC recruits from more than 100 institutions across the UK.

Updated: August 15, 2022, 10:43 AM