- Ernst & Young, or EY, is one of the most desirable workplaces for a recent business school graduate.
- But an executive at the global accounting firm says a relevant college degree isn’t going to get you hired. The company looks to hire continuous learners — people who show a desire to learn new skills.
- Andy Baldwin, global managing partner of client services at EY, said, “What we’re recognizing is that we may have some people who are deep specialists in product engineering, but actually we need a lot of people to have a broad understanding or a high-level understanding of what product engineering is, or what AI can do, or what blockchain can do.”
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DAVOS, Switzerland — Ernst & Young, known simply as EY, is one of the most recognized accounting groups in the world, making it a magnet for recent business school graduates.
But as a tech employer, it’s looking to become a top pick for engineers and STEM graduates as well.
Andy Baldwin, global managing partner of client services at EY, said the firm wants to hire for more tech roles in the years ahead, and it’s changing what it looks for in job candidates to help widen the funnel.
A college degree in a relevant field is no longer a requisite for hiring, Baldwin said. Instead, the accounting group looks for continuous learners — people who show a desire to learn new skills.
“What we’re recognizing is that we may have some people who are deep specialists in product engineering, but actually we need a lot of people to have a broad understanding or a high-level understanding of what product engineering is, or what AI can do, or what blockchain can do,” Baldwin told Business Insider’s Cadie Thompson at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “So that desire and that willingness to do that, is incredibly important.”
Baldwin said that a person can show a desire to learn that may not “manifest itself through a university degree. That’s why we are less focused on the academics, and we’re more focused on what’s the attitude to learning.”
The company tries to future-proof its workforce by providing trainings on the skills they need to stay relevant, according to Baldwin. Employees can earn digital “badges” for learning new technologies, such as blockchain, data science and artificial intelligence, analytics, and more. About 75,000 employees are currently enrolled in a program like Udemy, an online course provider, according to Baldwin.
“In the technology space,” Baldwin said of recruiters, “we are encouraging people to say, ‘Let’s focus on the technology skills you come with, that you have or that you want to learn,’ because that is a space where we’re trying to build. That’s more important to us than if you went to university.”
Baldwin, who leads global strategy on five continents, said the firm also puts a premium on teamwork. He describes the company’s culture as a “team-based meritocracy, where you’re working across disciplines and across borders.”
“That is a mindset which you can see in individuals in the types of things they do — the sports they do, their extracurricular activities,” Baldwin said. “They’re interested in global politics and interesting societal issues, as well.”
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