PwC drops 2:1 entry requirement to boost diversity

To increase the number of diverse employees, Big Four accountancy firm PwC has scrapped the 2:1 entry level requirements for recent graduates

Big Four accountancy firm PwC is lowering the entry level qualification bar for new employees in a bid to boost diversity. The firm will now recruit graduates who achieved grades below the 2:1 classification to attract more talent from lower income households.

The firm said that by easing entry requirements it will “diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have the top academic achievements, but have the attributes and all round proven capabilities for a career with the firm”. 

“Whilst academic achievement has its place, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results,” said Ian Elliott, PwC’s chief people officer. 

“Talent and potential is determined by more than academic grades, and so removing the 2:1 entry requirement will open our roles to a greater pool of talent.” 

A war for talent 

Around 17% of graduates do not achieve either 1st class degrees or 2:1s, therefore, by expanding their graduate selection, up to 70,000 students per year can apply for jobs at the firm, according to PwC. During the 2021-22 intake, PwC received 95,000 applications to its graduate programmes.

Although the firm is seeing a large number of applicants, the firm decided to relax entry requirements amid a tight squeeze in the jobs market, with 1.3m open positions according to the Office for National Statistics. In further efforts to retain staff, PwC have also allowed accountants to take Friday afternoons off all summer.

EY, a competitor of PwC and another member of the Big Four, welcomed an ‘open access policy’ to entry level employees back in 2010, which also does not exclude those who received grades lower than a 2:1. KPMG and Deloitte still require 2:1 grades from new recruits. 


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