When it comes to recruitment: one size does not fit all. Having different entry routes into the firm helps us to attract the most talented people in the market, from a diverse range of backgrounds, at different life stages, and with different qualifications and perspectives. This creates a whole range of benefits for our firm, our clients, our people and, importantly, for wider society.
In the year to June 2021 we welcomed almost 2,200 experienced professionals and over 1,500 graduates and school leavers. And we continued to grow our Flexible Talent Network, making sure we have working styles to suit a wide range of people.
Our work to broaden access to PwC supports our commitment to advancing social mobility in the UK, outlined in our five-point social mobility action plan. For the past two years we have been ranked the number one employer for social mobility in the Social Mobility Foundation’s Employer Index and in 2020 we won the Organisation of the Year Award in the UK Social Mobility Awards. But we know there is always more work to be done.
We’ve continued to invest in our school and college leaver programme throughout the pandemic, with 124 people joining us on the programme in 2020, and a similar number recruited through this route this year, with their offers guaranteed regardless of their A Level results. The programme offers people the chance to train and take professional qualifications while earning, setting applicants on the same career trajectory as our graduates.
We ran skills sessions with schools covering employability skills, wellbeing and financial skills. Our virtual New World New Skills schools series has reached over 10,000 students since its launch in November 2020, providing school students with a six week skills development programme.
We planned and recruited for our first New World New Skills work experience programme ringfenced for year 12 (or equivalent) students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Working with partner organisations we recruited around 200 students to join the week-long programme. All of the students offered places on the programme met our social mobility criteria and 45% are eligible for free school meals, 84% attend non-selective state school, 75% come from an ethnic minority background and 33% are Black students.
Over 200 students joined our Flying Start Accounting degree programmes in the last financial year, bringing the total number of students on this programme to around 650.
Through a partnership with Queen Mary University of London, a top social mobility university, we’ve expanded these programmes. These four-year bespoke courses, designed with leading universities, blend traditional university with practical paid work experience at PwC throughout the degree. This makes degrees more accessible and career focused.
Alongside this expansion, in June 2021, we also launched our first Flying Start Financial Bursary available to students across all of our accounting degrees. Successful applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds will be supported with the day-to-day costs of university life through a £10,000 bursary split across their four-year degree.
The Flying Start Accounting route sits alongside the Technology Degree Apprenticeship programme. This is a fully funded programme with a salary from day one which has been designed to improve access to careers in Technology.
As well as running these bespoke degree programmes with partner universities, we also recruit from an increasingly broad range of universities - hiring over 1,000 graduates from 95 universities in the last financial year. And we reached students from over 150 UK universities through the Virtual Park, our own bespoke virtual world.
We’ve also been taking targeted action to attract more people from ethnic minority backgrounds through new partnerships and work experience placements, alongside existing programmes like our Women in Business scheme.
Through our partnership with the Refugee Council we ran a paid six week training course followed by an 18 week paid work placement in our IT team for some of the Council’s refugee clients to help advance social mobility. Two candidates have since been offered permanent roles with PwC.
We’re committed to making sure opportunities are being distributed equally and to getting the best, diverse talent into our business. Only with this will we be able to best serve our clients and communities.
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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom