PwC ends A-level criteria for graduate jobs

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image captionPricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the largest graduate employers in the UK

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is to stop using A-levels grades as a way of selecting graduate recruits.

PwC, one of the UK's largest graduate employers, said using the grades to filter candidates could disadvantage those from poorer backgrounds.

The company said the policy could "drive radical changes" in social mobility and diversity.

Until now, the firm has not considered any applicants who failed to reach a defined threshold of A-level grades.

'Untapped talent'

But PwC said it would no longer consider a potential recruit's UCAS score - the score that tallies their A-level grades and is used in university applications - because some able candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds were losing out.

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."

image captionA-level results will no longer be considered by the accountancy firm when recruiting graduates

PwC receives 17 applications for every graduate role it advertises and has been rated the top graduate employer by the Sunday Times for the past 12 years.

Gaenor Bagley, board member and head of people at PwC, said: "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."

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 innovative step by one of the most significant graduate recruiters in the UK. Other graduate employers should follow their lead."

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