Ernst and Young Ditches Grades in Evaluating Potential Hires


Ernst and Young, one of the largest financial consultancies in the world and the fifth largest graduate recruiter in the United Kingdom, has announced that they will not be using grades as the sole criteria for selecting employees.

In order to be eligible for an interview, applicants previously needed a 2:1 degree or the equivalent of 3 B grades at an A level.  The company has no removed that policy, saying that grades do not matter, writes Nishi Jain for MensXP.  The company said there is “no evidence” that having high university-level grades implies that a candidate will go on to achieve great things later on in life, according to an internal study of over 400 graduates.  Research instead suggested “that there are positive correlations between certain strengths and success in future professional qualifications.”

Maggie Stilwell, Ernst and Young’s Managing Partner for Talent, said that the company will instead look at online assessments when considering potential candidates.

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door,” she 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.”

Ernst and Young is not the first company to make such a change.  Earlier in the year, audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) decided to stop using UCAS points when looking at potential candidates, saying that placing too much emphasis on scores could cause employers to miss out on successful employees who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, who often perform less impressively in school, writes Lucy Sherriff for The Huffington Post UK.

A recently released report found that wealthy youth are 35% more likely to earn high wages than are students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.  This holds true even for wealthy students who are not academically gifted.

The company hires 200 university graduates each year, making it the fifth largest recruiter of university graduates in the UK.  The changes are set to go into effect in 2016.

“Transforming our recruitment policy is intended to create a more even and fair playing field for all candidates, giving every applicant the opportunity to prove their abilities.”