EY drives social mobility by removing academic entry criteria


Changes made to EY’s UK student recruitment process are helping to ‘open up’ the doors of the profession to a more diverse range of talent.

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  • 18% of EY’s 2016 graduate and school leavers intake in the UK would have previously been ineligible to apply
  • EY has seen a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of students from state schools in the UK
  • Applications to EY’s graduate, school leaver and intern scheme up 75%
  • EY operates blind CV student recruitment process

In statistics published today, EY has revealed that 18% of its 2016 graduate and school leaver intake in the UK would have previously been ineligible to apply. In addition, the proportion of students (school leavers, graduates and interns) from state schools and those who are first in their family to go to University, increased by a 10 percentage point and a 7 percentage point respectively.

In 2015 EY removed the academic entry criteria (300 UCAS points and 2.1 degree) from its student recruitment process in the UK. It also removed ‘work experience’ and ‘positions of responsibility’ from the application form and operates a blind CV policy to reduce any unconscious bias in the selection process.

Following the changes, the firm saw a 75% increase in the number of applications to its student programmes (school leavers, graduates and interns), for a September 2016 start date. EY now uses a series of online tests to assess the strengths and future potential of students.

EY received 37,000 student applications last year for around 1,600 graduate, school leaver and intern vacancies.

Maggie Stilwell, EY’s Managing Partner for Talent, UK & Ireland, commented: “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.”

In March 2016, EY was one of eleven companies to be named a Social Mobility Business Compact champion by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The Government standard recognises employers who are leading the way in opening up the world of work to young people from all backgrounds, setting an example to others, and helping to increase the pace of change to improve social mobility.

EY also runs a Business Apprenticeship programme for school leavers looking for an alternative to University. The number of places offered has quadrupled in the last five years to 200, with expectations that it will grow even further in the future, sparked by market demand.



EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.