Ernst & Young drops degree criteria for graduate programme

Ernst & Young has dropped its requirement for a university degree from its entry criteria for their 2016 graduate programme

The Global accountancy firm Ernst & Young has announced a new recruitment strategy that they will no longer be hiring any potential candidates based solely on their degrees and A-level qualifications.

The company, which is one of the largest employers of new graduates in the UK, is instead opting for in in-house assessment and tests, which the firm says is a “robust and reliable indicator of a candidate’s potential to succeed”.

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Maggie Stilwell from Ernst and Young told ITV: “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.”

The announcement of the new recruitment scheme is a growing trend among recruiters, with PricewaterhouseCoopers, another accountancy firm, announcing in may that they are also going to stop looking at A-level grades as a way of deciding who to hire.

The trend of looking at hiring methods and to stop looking at education qualifications means that for those who aren’t able to success in the current education system – and those from less privileged backgrounds – may have a better chance of working in more ‘prestigious’ companies.

It also appears that employers are also looking for a more rounded way of deciding whether a candidate is suitable for a position rather than a degree score as the percentage of high grades such as 1st and 2:1 continues to rise.


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