Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is to stop using A-levels grades as a way of selecting graduate recruits.

PwC, one of the UK’s largest graduate employers, said using the grades to filter candidates could disadvantage those from poorer backgrounds.

The company said the policy could “drive radical changes” in social mobility and diversity.

Until now, the firm has not considered any applicants who failed to reach a defined threshold of A-level grades.

‘Untapped talent’

But PwC said it would no longer consider a potential recruit’s UCAS score – the score that tallies their A-level grades and is used in university applications – because some able candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds were losing out.

Richard Irwin, PwC’s head of student recruitment, said: “We want to target bright, talented people and extend our career opportunities to untapped talent in wider pockets of society.

“Our experience shows that whilst A-level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results.

“Competition and assessment for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever – but those that want to get on with a career in business can do so.”

PwC receives 17 applications for every graduate role it advertises and has been rated the top graduate employer by the Sunday Times for the past 12 years.

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