'We find that Uptree are always happy to discuss ways in which they can support our efforts to increase social mobility and reach a wider talent pool. Uptree events are high quality and well-attended from our target groups, and the team adapted quickly when moving all of their events online in response to the pandemic.' - Scarlett Seager, PwC
Scarlett Seager is PwC’s Student Recruitment Talent Engagement Manager and is responsible for early years talent attraction for Accounting and Technology Roles at PwC.
So, what kinds of challenges are young people and employers facing this year? The answer to this question has changed significantly during 2020 but some core themes remain. Uptree spoke to PwC, a multinational professional services firm and winners of ‘Organisation of the Year’ at the 2020 Social Mobility Awards, on how, during a time of rapid re-prioritisation, they have remained committed to supporting diverse students entering their organisation and the benefits of providing opportunities for college and school leavers.
Working with Uptree has given PwC the opportunity to reach young talent before they leave school, and we chat more about why our partnership is so important to the work that they do.
What are the current challenges you see for young people who want to get into digital and accounting roles at PwC and more broadly?
At PwC, we offer Accounting and Technology opportunities for school and college students through our Flying Start schemes and our School and College Leaver programmes
A key challenge we see is that some students, teachers and parents are not aware, and perhaps don’t fully understand, the variety of options available to them in the Accounting, Business and Technology sectors. Some students may also be the first in their family to consider applying to university or may lack confidence in applying.
For others, there is a 'technological access gap' in households which don’t own a laptop or have Wi-Fi
Students are also having to adapt to new online selection processes, which can be daunting and some of the tools now used by employers, such as behaviour-based assessments, may be unfamiliar.
We have created our Employability Hub to mitigate some of these concerns and to support students with their applications. We offer resources for parents and teachers to help them better understand the landscape, as well as offering a variety of virtual events for students, parents and teachers, which include both live and recorded sessions to make them as accessible as possible.
Some students worry they don't have any relevant work experience or haven't studied the correct subjects; however, most employers won't expect this (where there are exceptions these are listed on the employer's website). Instead, its important students take the time to understand the values and skills that the employer is looking for.
High academic entry requirements may be a barrier for some, but it is worth noting that most employers will consider mitigating circumstances and universities also offer widening access programmes.
Why do you think partnerships are so important when it comes to reaching early careers talent and solving these challenges?
Partnerships are a fantastic opportunity to access a wider and more diverse pool of talent. This is a strategic priority for employers like PwC where we understand the positive impact of diversity within our business.
As a large employer, we also feel it’s our responsibility to play a positive role in increasing social mobility through our recruitment efforts and partnerships, using our skills and resources to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds to make the most of their potential; whether at PwC or elsewhere.
We also find that students accessed via partner organisations receive an excellent level of support and guidance, meaning they’re well positioned when researching and applying for jobs. Equally, it’s hugely beneficial to listen to our partners' views and experience of the market, so that we can better understand our audience and adapt our recruitment strategy accordingly.
Tell us more about how PwC and Uptree are working together
A key focus for our partnership with Uptree is attracting students from low-income backgrounds, female students and students from BAME backgrounds, particularly raising awareness of technology and accounting careers within these groups.
Uptree helps us to promote our career opportunities with their partner schools and student network via their website and key events. As part of our partnership, we deliver a number of industry events, which give students an insight into the professional services sector and, more specifically, our accounting and technology opportunities.
PwC's company page on Uptree website
Uptree promotes these events with their partner schools and manages the sign-up process for students to attend. We also receive quality impact reports which include information on the demographics of students, so that we can see the diversity of the audience we are reaching through the partnership.
In addition, we are invited to the multi-industry #FuturesUP networking events for students run by Uptree. We typically participate in a panel session which is an opportunity to introduce students to our organisation and the professional services industry.
What is your favourite part about working with Uptree?
Uptree/PwC event in the East Midlands region last year
We enjoy working with Uptree and see our partnership as hugely beneficial in supporting us to engage with a more diverse audience.
The team at Uptree takes the time to understand what we are looking to achieve from our partnership and what success would look like
They are organised and proactive in managing our relationship. We find that Uptree are always happy to discuss ways in which they can support our efforts to increase social mobility and reach a wider talent pool. Uptree events are high quality and well-attended from our target groups, and the team adapted quickly when moving all of their events online in response to the pandemic.
Talk to us about connecting with early careers talent
The result of PwC partnering with Uptree has been a robust process to source, recruit, onboard, train but most importantly support the next generation of young people entering the business and technology sector.
Uptree would like to say a huge thank you to PwC for this blog and for supporting hundreds of Uptree students through our partnership since 2018.
Talk to us about connecting with early careers talent at firstname.lastname@example.org