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Leading graduate employer PricewaterhouseCoopers, a regular at Lancaster careers fairs, has announced that it will drop UCAS entry criteria from it’s grad scheme, in a move to enable social mobility.
In a blog post, the company announced “The strong correlation that exists in the UK between social class and school academic performance suggests that by placing too much emphasis on UCAS scores, employers will miss out on key talent from disadvantaged backgrounds, who can perform less well at school.” Further commenting, “The move will enable the firm to further diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have strong historical academic performance at school, but have gone on to perform well at university and have all round proven capabilities.”
Gaenor Bagley, board member and head of people at PwC, said: “As a progressive employer we recognise that talent and potential presents itself in different ways and at different stages in people’s lives. Removing the UCAS criteria will create a fairer and more modern system in which students are selected on their own merit, irrespective of their background or where they are from. By breaking down social barriers we will open the door to thousands of students who may have previously thought a graduate role with PwC was out of reach for them.”
Richard Irwin, PwC’s head of student recruitment, said: “We want to target bright, talented people and extend our career opportunities to untapped talent in wider pockets of society. Our experience shows that whilst A Level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results. Competition and assessment for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever – but those that want to get on with a career in business can do so.”
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said: “Using a candidate’s UCAS points to assess their potential is a blunt tool and a barrier to social mobility. This is an innovate step by one of the most significant graduate recruiters in the UK. Other graduate employers should follow their lead.”