PwC in the West Midlands has welcomed 82 new recruits to its office in Birmingham, predominantly in the firm’s Tax and Assurance areas of the practice, including graduate level roles, student business placements, and undergraduate internships.

The professional services firm has recruited 62 graduates from universities across the country, with half of these coming from universities based in the West Midlands, including the University of Birmingham, Aston University, University of Warwick, Coventry University and University of Wolverhampton.

Ten students have taken up work placements on the firm’s undergraduate programme, three students are on full-time business placements, and seven Higher Apprentices have also joined.

In addition, 20 students are participating in the Flying Start programme - a degree course run in conjunction with PwC, ICAEW, University of Nottingham Business School, University of Reading and Newcastle University.  The programme allows students to study at university, as well as gaining practical paid work experience with PwC.

Matt Hammond, regional chairman of PwC in the Midlands said: “Our biggest intake of graduates is in the Autumn, and we are very pleased to welcome such a large group this year. Our business is expanding in the region, particularly in the private business community, and as a result we have over 100 roles in our Birmingham office this year. In addition, we have over 3o roles in the East Midlands and 19 in Milton Keynes, taking our regional total to over 150.

“Due to our continued growth in Birmingham, another 18 graduates will be starting in November, and we’ll be talking to many students in our region’s universities over the coming months with a view to filling places for next year’s intake.”

PwC was voted number one in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employer awards in 2015 for the twelfth consecutive year. On this achievement, Matt Hammond said: “We’re incredibly proud of this remarkable achievement. Whilst the graduate job market has changed significantly over the last decade, it’s great to see that students’ opinion of us as a prospective employer has remained consistently high. Through our student outreach programmes we build relationships with students well before job applications and offer stage – as early as school and the first year at university.

“It is important that students have a sense of the organisation before they join to help them make informed decisions about their future. Students who take part in our internship and work experience placements schemes have the opportunity to see at first hand the key skills that we ultimately look for in our graduate recruits and decide for themselves whether we offer the opportunity that is right for them.”

Following PwC’s decision to scrap UCAS scores as an entry criteria for its graduate roles, applications increased 15% on the same period last year. By attracting students who have not achieved the normally required A Level grades, the firm is leading the way in driving social mobility and diversity of the professional services industry.

Matt Hammond said:

“The surge in applications, since we changed our graduate recruitment criteria, is an early indicator that efforts to attract students from wider pockets of society is working. However, recruitment standards remain incredibly high so students must consider their options early and be prepared to demonstrate their capabilities through the recruitment process.”

Across the UK, PwC received its highest ever number of applications this year, with over 41,000 students applying for over 2,400 graduate, school leaver, paid internships and work placement positions.