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PwC UK Has a Soft Spot For Students Who Got Wrecked By the Pandemic

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It’s no secret the pandemic screwed a lot of things up. Firms suddenly had to figure out how to manage an entirely remote work force, CPA exam candidates couldn’t test for months due to Prometric closures, and let’s not forget the poor interns and first years who had to wait for answers in Teams while their superiors were jerking off and playing video games tied up with other work and unable to be bothered in person (it’s harder to ignore someone who is standing in front of you as we all know).

There is one group particularly disrupted by the events of 2020, a group that sadly doesn’t get much attention when we talk about things the pandemic screwed up and the lasting effects of that disruption: students. According to The Times, the King’s PwC is thinking about giving those kids a break and adjusting its hiring process to accommodate them.

Accountancy firm PwC is considering revamping its recruitment and training schemes for the “lockdown cohort” of school leavers and graduates whose education was interrupted during Covid when many did not sit exams under the usual conditions.

The firm is considering tailoring its hiring process to make it less imposing for these candidates.

It has noticed that some of its latest recruits have needed extra help in their study for professional exams, having missed out on sitting formal exams for GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications.

Ian Elliott, PwC’s chief people officer, said: “We’re acutely aware that lockdown will have impacted students in all sorts of ways. It would be remiss for us not to look at our approaches … to make sure we … are providing the best support.”

Decisions have not been made about any changes, but PwC currently uses a mix of online and face-to-face meetings and is looking at whether this is appropriate.

As you are currently reading a Yankee rag, some definitions might be in order:

  • School-Leaver: a young person who is about to leave or has just left secondary school
  • GCSEs: The General Certificate of Secondary Education is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
  • A-Level: The A-Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the educational authorities of British Crown dependencies to students completing secondary or pre-university education

PwC UK has a notoriously rigorous hiring process that includes psychometric assessments. There’s even an entire cottage industry built around helping candidates prepare for and ace these, which PwC does not endorse and instead directs candidates to its own e-learning modules. These assessments are just 11.1% of the nine-step hiring process, laid out in pretty PwC autumn hues below:

Just 9 easy steps and you too can work at PwC (via PwC UK)

There are also the standard, incredibly lame and insanely creepy video interviews which candidates can also prepare for using PwC’s own modules.


92,000 people applied for entry-level roles at PwC UK in the first half of 2022, fighting for about 1,900 jobs. Despite the flood of applicants — which was up from 71,000 the same time the year prior — only 80% of these jobs were filled. Meaning a huge number of the 92,000 trying to get into PwC did not meet their standards, or so PwC said.

A cynical person might suggest that PwC is now rethinking the gauntlet it puts aspiring candidates through out of sheer desperation but it could be that they want to make sure they aren’t missing out on young talent just because someone does not check all the right boxes. Especially someone who has a helluva excuse for why they weren’t able to get those boxes checked in the last three years.