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PwC UK drops degree requirement for interns but Ireland sticks to ‘2.1’

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the UK has scrapped a long-standing requirement that new hires hold a university degree of at least 2.1 as it seeks to broaden the pool of potential hires.

However, the Irish branch of the global financial services giant has met the minimum requirement of 2.1 for entry-level recruitment here.

In the UK, PwC said it had filed a complaint because it sought to attract people from less advantaged backgrounds to entry-level jobs and internships.

Increasing diversity, including the number of employees of diverse gender, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and socio-economic classes, is becoming an important goal for some employers, both to meet changing regulatory and reporting requirements and to broaden the pool of potential personnel in a tight labor market.

“Talent and potential are determined by more than academic grades,” said Ian Elliot, human resources director at PwC UK. He said the move would “allow us to make real progress in the social mobility of PwC recruits.”

PwC also said young people who leave school with an offer within the company will be guaranteed a place for a third consecutive year, even if they do not achieve the previously required A-level grades. Students receive their A-level marks this Thursday.

Most graduates from UK universities achieve a second class grade of 2.1 or above in their degree. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, just 14% of UK graduates achieved a 2:2 last year, while 3% achieved a third class qualification. More than 80 pc graduated with a 2:1 or first class diploma.

In Ireland, EY – one of PwC’s rival ‘Big Four’ audit firms – already has a more flexible entry requirement, saying recruits must have at least a 2:1 qualification or equivalent – achieved or expected.

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

KPMG’s website does not specify a grade requirement, but says it hires talented and ambitious graduates from all disciplines.

Grant Thornton is another large accounting firm that recruits a large number of interns every year. He also insists that new recruits have an advanced degree with his website stating that applicants must be on track to earn a minimum of 2.1 in their degree and have strong computer skills.

While accounting and auditing firms in Ireland have traditionally recruited largely from business and commercial studies, most have broadened this approach with greater openness to other disciplines, in part as that the range of work within companies has changed, particularly the growth of technology and consulting services. .

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