Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Melinda Woodlock, EY Oceania campus recruitment lead, identified a shift in the academic background of aspiring applicants, with an influx of IT and engineering graduates attracted to business advisory roles, which has resulted in a broader and more diverse pool of talent.
“Students studying IT and engineering are typically drawn towards our advisory business service line, and they’re absolutely a growth area for us,” Ms Woodlock said.
“We are hiring students with data analytics backgrounds, cyber security backgrounds, and some of those more technical areas which you wouldn’t have been doing 10, 15 years ago, or even five years ago. We wouldn’t have been hiring those types of people into that area,” she added.
The Sydney EY assurance firm has opened its doors to applicants in the assurance service line regardless of whether they have an accounting background, offering bridging courses to provide the required education whilst diversifying the talent pool, she said.
“They want to get the best people, and if that means that the best person has studied something other than accounting, if they’ve shown a clear commitment to wanting to do those additional studies then they are very open and keen to consider those people for positions,” she said.
Following the decision of EY UK to remove minimum requirements for applications, the UK adopted a similar process to its Australian counterpart, with no “blanket rules” regarding academic standards, according to Ms Woodlock.
“In Australia we don’t apply any strict benchmarks around academic results, so in that way our assessment process will be quite similar to the UK,” she said.
In response to a recent report from recruiting service Hays, which emphasised a focus on communication skills for prospective employees in the accountancy space, Ms Woodlock reiterated the importance of strong personal interaction as an indication of good talent.
“A graduate could be out working with a client pretty much from their first week at EY, so we need to be confident that they have those skills, they can build relationships with different people and so on,” she said.