PwC removes 2:1 criteria for undergraduate and graduate roles to ensure it doesn't miss out on talent


  • More students will be able to access PwC’s programmes as the firm assesses potential instead of academic attainment 
  • The move is expected to drive progress in the social-economic background of recruits by drawing on a wider talent pool
  • The firm recruits from over 100 institutions across the UK

PwC, one of the UK's largest graduate employers, is removing the 2:1 degree classification requirement for all its undergraduate and graduate roles, internships and placements. The move is designed to open up opportunities to more people, increase the socio-economic diversity of the firm and support its efforts to improve social mobility.

Changing the entry criteria will enable PwC to further diversify its graduate intake through broader access to talented young people, who may not have the top academic achievements but have the attributes and all round proven capabilities for a career with the firm.

PwC removed UCAS points as an entry criteria for its graduate roles seven years ago, finding that academic qualifications alone are not an indicator of workplace potential. The firm uses a broad range of assessments to assess ability and potential.  

By removing the 2:1 criteria for undergraduate and graduate roles over 70,000 more students a year can access PwC’s graduate programmes. Around 17% of students at university do not achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree classification.*

Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer at PwC, said;

“Whilst academic achievement has its place, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results. Talent and potential is determined by more than academic grades and so removing the 2:1 entry requirement will open our roles to a greater pool of talent.  

“We were fortunate to have over 95,000 applications to our graduate and school leaver programmes this year. This move isn’t primarily about attracting more applications but opening our roles to students from a broader range of backgrounds, including those from lower income households. Removing the 2:1 criteria will allow us to make real progress in driving social mobility of PwC recruits.

“We know that competition for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever but we’re confident that our own aptitude and behavioural testing can assess a candidate’s potential.”

And, for the third consecutive year, PwC UK has told candidates with offers to join its School and College leaver programme that their places are guaranteed even if they don’t achieve the A level grades previously required. Around 80 students were made offers to this year’s programme, which is one of the ways PwC has broadened access to the firm beyond graduates.

Ian Elliott added;

“Students who sat exams this summer experienced significant disruption to their studies through the pandemic and so we are keen to do all we can to ease the minds of those who are planning to join us through our School and College leaver programmes.”  


Notes to editor

  • *According to the Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2020/21, 14% of students received a lower second qualification classification and 3% of students received a third class honours.  

  • Information about PwC’s online applications and assessment process is available here

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