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. Following the firm’s decision to scrap UCAS scores as an entry criteria for its graduate roles, applications have 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.

Nearly 3,000 people applied for over 200 roles at PwC in the Midlands, across three offices in Birmingham, Castle Donnington and Milton Keynes, including graduates, students on undergraduate work experience programmes, higher apprentices and students on schools insight programmes. Over 100 of these roles are in the Birmingham office.

Underlying the firm’s commitment to attracting and recruiting more women into the profession, graduate intake across the UK is 47% female this year, up from 41% in 2014. This is reflected in the Midlands region with an 11% percent increase in female graduate hires compared to the previous year.

Mark Smith, regional chairman at PwC in the Midlands 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.

“We are seeing young people begin to rethink the career options available to them and make informed decisions about their future. Whichever route someone chooses, anyone with the right talent and transferable skills, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to succeed in our business.

“However, recruitment standards remain incredibly high so students must consider their options early and be prepared to demonstrate their capabilities through the recruitment process.”

Alongside this growth in graduate interest, appetite for alternative training options has also increased, with the number of people applying to the firm’s Higher Apprenticeship programme rising 17% since last year. Nationally, the firm, which now offers over 165 Higher Apprenticeship roles a year, received 117% more applications than it did for its school leaver programme back in 2010.

PwC was voted number one in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employer award in 2015 for the twelfth consecutive year. PwC was also voted the Employer of Choice in Consulting for a second consecutive year.