PwC alters recruitment process to foster diversity and inclusion

PwC alters recruitment process to foster diversity and inclusion

School leavers and graduates will be able to advance up to a £1000 of their first month’s salary

PwC alters recruitment process to foster diversity and inclusion

In a bid to foster greater diversity and inclusion, PwC is changing up its recruitment process.

In a statement, the Big Four firm said it was expanding its talent pool by offering new programmes and work experiences designed for non-university graduates, thereby breaking away from traditional hiring processes.

PwC’s approach to recruitment is a response to the changing dynamics of the accountancy profession. The firm is focusing on growing its apprenticeships, school leaver programmes, work experience placements, and degree partnerships.

This strategic shift is aimed at ensuring that students without a university degree have the same access to opportunities as their university-educated counterparts.

Ian Elliott, chief people officer at PwC, emphasised the importance of this change.

“We’re proud of the strides we’ve made broadening access to the firm, focusing on potential not pedigree. But equally important is how we support people to settle in and develop once they get here,” he said.

“We wanted to better understand the experiences – warts and all – of prospective and new joiners, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  By learning what’s working well and what isn’t, we’ve been able to identify changes that we hope will make a significant difference to their experience.”

PwC’s approach

The accounting giant is taking a number of new steps to support new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds settle in and progress in the firm.

The actions, which include the option of a salary advance for next year’s graduate and school-leaver intake, follow a significant research project with Thinks Insight & Strategy.

The research followed a cohort of new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds on the firm’s school leaver and graduate programmes.

The 19-strong group journalled their experiences over eight weeks and responded to questions via an anonymised online platform run and moderated by Thinks.

A related strand of research gathered insights from potential future employees.  This group included school-age students, parents, and students taking or having completed a technical qualification.

The project culminated in a ‘co-creation workshop’ facilitated by Thinks, where the new joiners and senior partners at PwC discussed the findings and explored ways to address the issues raised.

Actions announced by the firm today are a direct result of those discussions and are included in a new PwC and Thinks report: Getting in and Getting Started.

Many of the challenges surfaced by the research could affect all prospective and new employees, but they are particularly acute for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds – particularly against the backdrop of rising living costs.

For example, new employees are keen to spend time socialising with colleagues, but are put off by the related costs, particularly before they’ve received their first paycheck.  This exacerbates concerns many have about fitting in and networking.

The need for change

The accountancy profession has been identified as one of the least accessible jobs without a university degree, according to a poll commissioned by AAT.

The high cost of qualifications and the perception of accountancy as a profession for higher-income backgrounds are significant barriers to entry.

However, Mark Farrar, Chief Executive at AAT, highlighted that there are alternative routes into the profession.

“There are other ways of accessing the accountancy profession, such as taking a vocational route like an apprenticeship. This approach wouldn’t saddle you with debt, nor would it cost several thousand pounds of your own money,” he said.

The future of recruitment in accountancy

PwC’s new recruitment strategy is a step towards a more inclusive and diverse accountancy profession.

By providing equal opportunities to all, regardless of their educational background, the firm is setting a precedent for other companies in the industry.

As the accountancy profession continues to evolve, firms need to adapt their recruitment strategies to attract a diverse range of talent.

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