Jessica Fino 2 Feb 2017 11:50am

EY's recruitment process changes attract more diverse student intake

EY has seen a 75% increase in the number of applications to its student programmes following its decision to remove the academic entry criteria

The Big Four firm said that after removing the criteria from its student recruitment process in 2015, it received 37,000 student applications last year for around 1,600 graduate, school leaver and intern vacancies.

EY said that 18% of its 2016 graduate and school leaver intake would have been ineligible to apply before the changes in its recruitment criteria.

The percentage of applicants coming from state schools and those who were the first in their family to go to university rose by 10% and 7% respectively.

Maggie Stilwell, EY’s managing partner for talent, said, “The results speak for themselves. We made a bold move to achieve a bold result and improve social mobility.

"We challenged ourselves by transforming our well-established student recruitment process to ensure we are able to find the very best talent.

“It was the right thing to do for EY, to broaden our talent pool and the diversity of our workforce, and at the same time create more opportunities for young people. We hope we have inspired others to do the same; driving social change.”

EY’s Business Apprenticeship, a programme for school leavers looking for an alternative to university, has quadrupled the number of places in the last five years to 200.

The programme is expected to grow further due to market demand, the firm said.

Last year, EY was named as one of the 25 best big companies to work for by the Sunday Times.

The firm also received a one star accreditation, which acknowledges excellence in the workplace, and was presented with a special award for innovation in engagement practice.

According to High Fliers Research, accounting and professional services firms are expected to offer the most graduate vacancies in 2017 despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Such firms are expected to be the largest recruiters of graduates, with 4,489 vacancies and median salaries starting at £30,000.