EY overhauls post-education recruitment selection process

EY is to scrap academic qualifications from the entry criteria for its 2016 graduate, undergraduate and school leaver programmes, the Big Four firm said as it launched its current programme.

Students will no longer be required to have a minimum of 300 UCAS points (equivalent to three Bs) and a 2:1 degree classification to make an application. Instead, EY will use a new suite of online ‘strengths’ assessments and numerical tests to assess the potential of applicants for 2016.

The decision comes after an 18-month analysis of the firm’s student selection process by talent management firm Capp, which confirmed EY’s strengths-based approach – used in the recruitment process since 2008 – is a robust and reliable indicator of a candidate’s potential to succeed in role.

EY’s new managing partner for talent, Maggie Stilwell, said transforming the 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,” she said.

“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.

To further improve the potential for social mobility, EY intends to launch online learning resources to give candidates from all backgrounds access to the information and skills that makes securing a graduate role easier. The programme will include guidance on four core personal skills (leadership; commerciality; networking and influence) that EY has identified as invaluable to securing and succeeding in a first professional role.

In June, the UK’s top accounting firms were accused by the government’s social mobility watchdog of systematically excluding people with working class backgrounds from top jobs with a “poshness test”.

Research carried out by the commission the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission found that as much as 70% of job offers from the UK’s most elite accounting, legal and financial services firms were made to graduates who had been educated at a selective state or fee-paying school, compared to 4% and 7% of the population as a whole.

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