Roles frequently state what degree qualifications they require from candidates. However, this strategy may not be the most accurate/best way to assess the skills of candidates. Plus it can needlessly limit an organization’s talent pool.
Accounting and professional services giant PwC is now switching things up.
In the UK, PwC will no longer require graduates to have achieved a 2:1 or higher in their degree. Instead, the firm will now also accept applications from candidates with lower second-class degrees.
Easing job requirements for entry-level positions is a continuing project for PwC, and it previously removed the need of a certain amount of UCAS (universities and colleges admissions service) points when applying for roles.
Speaking about the UCAS points move, the company said: “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.”
The firm has also stated that it has a goal for 29% of its partners and directors to be working class by 2030. Currently, 23% of PwC’s partners and 20% of directors fall into this category.
Why change hiring requirements?
PwC’s changes are part of a growing trend in recruitment. The association for human resource professionals, CIPD recently advised that businesses relax their degree requirements.
Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser for CIPD, commented: “Employers need to stop thinking that university degrees are the best indicator of a person’s potential at work.
“They think they’re getting ‘off the shelf’ capability rather than assessing the specific skills needed for roles, then wondering why they have ongoing skills gaps.”
This appears to be a viewpoint that PwC agrees with. According to the firm, the changes it has made could mean 70,000 more students a year will be able to access the graduate programs it offers.
The firm attracted over 95,000 graduate applications this year.
Instead, UK chief people officer Ian Elliott said in a company statement: “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.”
“Removing the 2:1 criteria will allow us to make real progress in driving social mobility of PwC recruits.
“We know that competition for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever but we’re confident that our own aptitude and behavioral testing can assess a candidate’s potential.”
On top of that, Elliot noted: “Students who sat exams this summer experienced significant disruption to their studies through the pandemic and so we are keen to do all we can to ease the minds of those who are planning to join us through our school and college leaver programs.”
Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion is vital for the future of businesses, particularly in a challenging labor market. With this in mind, the only question left is when will other employers follow suit?
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