PwC is to scrap A-level scores in graduate recruitment, in order to attract more talent from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The professional services firm, which recruits 2,500 students and graduates a year, previously asked for at least one B and two Cs at A-level, with some roles requiring two As and one B.
Last year, it received 17 applications per job for its 1,500 university leaver roles.
Its graduate programme will now focus on degree results and behavioural and aptitude tests for 90 per cent of its roles.
The link between social class and academic performance means some students who did not perform well at school will go on to excel at university, PwC said.
Gaenor Bagley, board member and head of people at the firm, said: “We recognise that talent and potential presents itself in different ways and at different stages in people’s lives.
“By breaking down social barriers we will open the door to thousands of students who may have previously thought a graduate role with PwC was out of reach for them.
“Removing the UCAS criteria will create a fairer and more modern system in which students are selected on their own merit, irrespective of their background or where they are from.”
Richard Irwin, PwC’s head of student recruitment, said the firm wants to reach untapped talent in the “wider pockets of society”.
He said: “Our experience shows that while A-level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence results.
“Competition and assessment for our graduate roles will be as tough as ever - but those that want to get on with a career in business can do so.”
The firm will continue to use UCAS scoring for its school leaver programme, employer-led degree and some subject-specific roles.