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7th August 2015

EY to disregard degree classifications in application process

It found “no evidence” that performance at academic level was representative of job performance, and aims to open the door to bright applicants from all backgrounds

‘Big Four’ auditing firm Ernst & Young has changed its application criteria for hiring programmes, after research they conducted suggested there was little correlation between academic achievement and professional achievement.

It will now not required that all applicants have a 2:1 degree classification and 300 UCAS points—equivalent to three Bs at A-level—to apply for a graduate, undergraduate, or school leaver programmes, applications for which opened on the 3rd of August. Instead, applicants will be put on an equal playing field, being judged through numerical tests and assessments of individual strength.

Managing partner for talent Maggie Stilwell said “transforming our recruitment process will open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background and provide greater access to the profession.

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door.

“Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment. It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken.”

EY emphasise that their intellectual standards and value of academic performance will remain high and selective, but wishes to give the firm a “more inclusive culture.”

A study by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission found that leading accountancy firms hired a disproportionate level of students from research-led Russell Group universities. Elite firms “implement mainstream recruitment and selection processes which systematically advantage applicants from more privileged backgrounds, whilst disadvantaging their peers from less privileged backgrounds,” regardless of intelligence.

EY wants to “attract the brightest and most talented individuals,” says Dan Richards, Recruiting Leader for the UK. “The changes we have made to our recruitment process will help us to access the widest and deepest possible talent pools.”

EY also aims to provide resources for individuals interested in applying, in order to help applicants from all backgrounds, many of which may not have access to the information and employability skills that can secure a graduate position.

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