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Exam grades don’t add up

In a bold move, EY has removed academic qualifications from its entry criteria for the 2016 graduate, undergraduate and school leaver intake.

October 2015

Students will no longer be required to have a minimum of 300 UCAS points (equivalent to 3 B’s) and a 2.1 degree classification to make an application.
Instead, EY will use a new and enhanced 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 that EY’s ‘strengths-based’ approach – used in its recruitment process since 2009 – is a robust and reliable indicator of a candidate’s potential to succeed the company.
The firm’s managing partner for talent, Maggie Stilwell, said: “At EY we are modernising the workplace, challenging traditional thinking and ways of doing things. Transforming our recruitment process will open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background and provide greater access to the profession.”
She stressed that academic qualifications will still be taken into account, and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole. However, they will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door.
Stilwell admitted that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment. Internal research found that there was no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken. Instead, the research shows there are positive correlations between certain ‘strengths’ and success as a future professional.
EY’s news follows PwC’s announcement in May that its applicants will no longer need top A-level grades to get a job at the firm. It too is using aptitude tests to help it attract a more diverse selection of people. PwC also admitted that its former policy prevented it hiring top talent from disadvantaged groups.

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