MORE than 100 graduates have started their career at PwC after an innovative approach to virtual recruitment enabled the firm to grow across its three Scottish offices.
The record autumn intake of 108 student joiners had to rely on digital induction after taking delivery of company laptops to their homes as ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have prevented them meeting their new employers face to face. In 2019 there were 93 student joiners.
In total, 51 students have joined the firm’s Edinburgh office, with 43 in Glasgow and 14 in Aberdeen. The majority (79) of the new starters are joining PwC’s Audit practice, with others working across Tax, Deals, Consulting and the growing Technology, Data & Analytics practice.
The new joiners represent an 11.5% increase in headcount, taking the number of partners and staff at the firm in Scotland to 1,045.
Across the UK, PwC is welcoming more than 1,300 new student hires during September and October. Since lockdown was announced at the end of March, the firm has already welcomed 243 students to start their careers at PwC – all completely virtually. In addition, more than 500 experienced recruits have joined during this period.
The majority of this year’s graduate recruits in Scotland (50.4%) are female while 22% of the recruits come from an ethnic minority. More than half of the hires (55%) attended a non-selective state school, with 5% of the intake eligible for free school meals – reinforcing the firm’s ongoing commitment to social mobility.
PwC is a proud partner of the Social Mobility Pledge and in 2019 was ranked as the top UK employer in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2019. The Index, created by the Social Mobility Foundation, ranks the UK’s employers on the actions they’re taking to ensure they are accessing and progressing talent from all class backgrounds.
Fully utilising the firm’s cutting-edge technology, all recruits went through a digital induction process and have started their PwC careers at home.
The pandemic has radically altered the usual induction process, which sees PwC run events where senior leaders of the business welcome the new joiners, before training commences and “right to work” eligibility checks are conducted face to face. The new joiners are then welcomed at their new offices to meet their new teams, begin their training and study for professional qualifications.
This year the firm had to quickly put in place procedures which kept the recruits safe, but also ensured that their introduction to the firm was rewarding and engaging. With the backing of the Home Office, PwC has carried out Right to Work checks virtually, while also developing a digital induction package, allowing the business to train new students remotely. The recruitment team also couriered laptops to each new joiner and scheduled IT lessons.
Claire Reid, Regional Market Leader for PwC in Scotland, commented:
“Like all businesses we have had to quickly adapt to a new way of working, and that has extended to welcoming our graduate intake for 2020 – while I’m used to meeting graduates in a packed room, it was quite the experience to address more than 100 people on a video call.
“I hope to meet them in person soon, but the priority for now is making sure we have a safe, welcoming and collaborative environment that will give them the best start to their working lives as they learn new skills in this new world.”
“The business has shown great resilience since the onset of COVID-19 and that is reflected by the fact we are able to welcome more than 100 graduates through our virtual doors. I am really proud of the diversity across our graduate population – more than half of whom are female and an increased number coming from ethnic minorities.
“It is vitally important that businesses draw from all areas of society to enable PwC to have a greater impact on their work. We want to ensure that someone’s future is determined by their talent and determination, not by their background.”