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Have EY just "dumbed down" their recruitment?

I still today come across a large number of businesses expecting possible candidates to have at least a 2:1 degree from a certain type of university and in some cases in a certain type of discipline, across every level of vacancy within their business.

Posted by Jessica Ferguson, Tuesday November 12 2019

Grad Blog

It was interesting to read yesterday on the BBC news (education sector) that EY have decided to remove all academic and education requirements from its trainee application process. PwC was  quicker to act when in May this year they scrapped the remit on minimum A-Level grades. Most people might be thinking why are these huge leading companies all of a sudden ‘dumbing down’ their recruitment requirements? Well I personally don’t think they are, in fact, it’s probably one of the best decisions they’ll make to win this new war for talent.

The need for strong grades, intelligence, EQ, problem solving, common sense, logical and lateral thinking all will still, no doubt, very much apply in the same way they have done at PwC and EY; however, as the cost of gaining a degree has increased over the years, fewer people have a desire to go to university especially where 6 out of 10 graduates go into a job totally unrelated to their degree (research conducted by the CIPD). It’s not to say that the individuals without degrees are not capable of obtaining one, so why should they be left out of the application process? In addition to the above, there is clearly a lack of candidates in a growing market where more jobs are being created than there are “qualified” people to take these jobs – the problem here is most employers tend to look for education, skill-set and experience - we in fact should now be focusing on attitudes, behaviours and desires with a view to developing their skill-set and therefore their experience; they can also gain industry relevant education/qualifications along the way. Furthermore, Graduates seem to be really attracted to the ever growing digital and start-up space. The shift in wanting to join a big corporate giant to now pining to be part of small high growth company with an exciting product/offering where they can grow and develop at the quickest rate possible is more noticeable than ever. Inevitably, larger companies such as EY and PwC are being hit by this and no doubt the quality of applications from graduates have been dropping over the years. Which is why I personally believe they have had to rethink their recruitment strategies.

I still today come across a large number of businesses expecting possible candidates to have at least a 2:i degree from a certain type of university and in some cases in a certain type of discipline, across every level of vacancy within their business. If some of these Companies could be on my side of the fence to see some of the exceptional talent that they are missing out on then I think they would have scrapped their educational requirements years ago. Despite me trying for years to educate businesses on this, they have been steadfast in their approach – I am after all just a recruiter. Maybe, just maybe now that  behemoths like EY and PwC are starting to change their approach – these companies might start to feel it’s OK to look into the wider talent pool.

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