Thames Valley: EY welcomes graduates and apprentices

EY has welcomed a total of 1,048 graduates and apprentices in the UK this year, reinforcing its commitment to invest in and nurture young talent, despite COVID-19. This compares to 1,011 graduates and apprentices hired in 2019.

EY’s Reading office has equalled its graduate and apprentice intake from 2019, welcoming 49 new permanent joiners to the business this September. The intake includes 41 graduates, six business apprentices and two digital degree apprentices. The office also welcomed eight new graduates in April earlier this year.

A further 14 students took part in a ‘virtual’ Summer Internship, alongside five, year 12 work experience placements, as part of EY’s Business Academy programme, giving them a taste of life working at EY in Reading, albeit with the added challenge of working remotely.

854 graduates and 194 apprentices have joined 14 EY offices. Edinburgh, Hull, Luton, Reading and Southampton have seen a particularly strong intake on last year, as EY continues to build out its talent pipeline across the country, with 45% of this year’s cohort joining EY’s regional offices.

In line with EY’s commitment to recruit a diverse pool of candidates, 43% of the student recruits this year are female (up from 39%, last year) and 41% are people from ethnic minorities (up from 38%, last year), which includes 3% Black students (up from 2%, last year).

Richard Baker, office managing partner at EY in Reading, said: “I’m delighted to welcome the new student intake for 2020 to the business and really pleased to see that despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’ve been able to recruit the same number of new joiners as we did in 2019. These new permanent hires, alongside our commitment to deliver a fantastic experience for our Summer Intern Placement students are testament to our ability to attract the best young talent from across the region, and our vision to continue to build our operations in Reading and the South East.

“Whilst our biggest number of new joiners has been in our Assurance function, we’re really pleased to have also recruited across our Tax, Consulting and People Advisory Services teams, all of which have continued to perform strongly, despite the global pandemic. It’s also particularly satisfying to see that our 2020 activity had nearly an equal ratio of male and female recruits, something that we’ve been keen to focus on over the last 12 months.

“Young talent is essential to our future business success and to shaping the skills we will need to remain competitive. I’m proud that we’ve maintained our commitment to student recruitment this year, despite COVID-19, and that we’ve honoured all the conditional offers we made prior to A-level results. At a time when many young people are facing a challenging labour market, our apprenticeship, graduate and internship programmes provide students and school leavers with a great opportunity to gain real hands-on experience, while also enhancing their skills and gaining a qualification.”

As part of the firm’s efforts to attract more diverse students, 30% of the work experience places on the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures/Our Futures programmes will be offered to Black young people for the next five years from September 2021. Additionally, EY has set a target of offering at least 30% of places on its school leaver pathways to Black alumni from the Smart Futures and Our Futures programmes from next year.

EY has adjusted its student recruitment programmes for a virtual environment to ensure graduates and apprentices are still able to undertake client work and work towards their professional qualifications, despite COVID-19. EY has introduced more one-to-one touchpoints for students with their line managers and coaches and will be arming students with tools and tips on working in a virtual world. There will also be virtual networking sessions and more peer support groups.

Justine Campbell, EY UK&I managing partner for talent, added: “Diversity and inclusion are key priorities for EY, and I’m pleased by the progress we’ve made to improve the diversity of our student intake this year. However, we know there’s more we can do which is why we introduced new diversity targets last year and announced a series of commitments on black representation in July.

“Many of the bright, young talent we recruit go on to become our future leaders and are a critical part of the business. We have another strong cohort joining us this year and wish them all the success in their careers with us.”