Demand for work experience rises as students look to get head start in jobs market, says PwC

Aug 10, 2017

PwC has seen a double digit increase in the number of students applying to its work experience and internship placements, as more students look to get a head start in their careers and stand out in the competitive student jobs market.

Over 22,000 students applied for PwC’s 960 paid work experience placements this year (23 students per place), up 12% from last year. The opportunities are varied and include a year long work placement for university students; a six to eight week summer internship; Business Insight Week - a week’s work experience targeted at A level students looking to join our apprenticeship programmes; Tech Academy - a week long placement in PwC’s technology team; Big Data Summer Camp - a week’s work experience for A Level students aimed at those with an interest in technology; and Women in Business - a placement to shadow senior females in the business.

PwC has seen a record number of applications across its student vacancies overall. Nearly 50,000 (49,502) students - 136 applicants a day - have applied for PwC’s 2,285 graduate, apprenticeship, school leaver, paid internship and work placement positions this year. This is up from 45,800 last year.

Laura Hinton, head of people at PwC, said:

“We’ve seen a big increase in the number of students applying to our variety of work experience and internship options as they look for ways to stand out in the competitive job market and test drive their career options at a much earlier stage.

“All of our work experience and internship options are paid, which is a crucial way for us to attract a greater diversity of students and make sure that opportunities are open to all.”

Louise Farrar, head of student recruitment at PwC, said:

“Placements such as ours are a great opportunity for students to gain valuable skills and experience beyond academic performance. This can help place them in pole position in the jobs market. Importantly, these programmes are not a one way street - they allow students to try before they apply, testing future employers as much as the employers are testing them.

“The conversion rate of students from our work experience placements into full-time roles is very high. We’re able to recruit with confidence from this group, because they’ve had real experience of our business, culture, clients and industry.”

PwC is committed to creating different routes into the profession and widening access. This year the firm announced it is creating 80 places per year on its innovative new technology degree apprenticeship programme, designed to give students from a broader range of backgrounds access to technology careers. Applications for the programme, in partnership with the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds, will open in September this year, with the first intake starting in September 2018.

This also reflects PwC’s drive to create student opportunities right across the country. This year 55% of graduate hires were outside of London, rising to 71% for school leaver roles, including apprenticeships.

Laura Hinton, head of people at PwC, said:

“We’re committed to creating opportunities for students right across the country and dispelling the myth that you need to work in London to get ahead in your career. We plan to create even more student roles in our regional offices this year and our technology degree apprenticeship programme is a great example of that ambition in action, as roles will be based in our Birmingham and Leeds offices.”

PwC’s drive to widen access to professional services is reflected in the applicants from more diverse backgrounds to its student programmes. Three quarters (74%) of applicants are from state schools and 14% are from a household receiving income support.

Laura Hinton, head of people at PwC, said:

“We want to employ the most talented people, regardless of their backgrounds, and the more routes we have into our profession the more successful we will be in reaching the best people. We recognise that we’ve got more work to do here, but it’s encouraging that the steps we’ve already taken to widen access to our firm, such as removing UCAS criteria, offering paid internships and extending our schools outreach, are starting to pay off.”

About PwC

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