Press releases

Deloitte becomes largest British business to adopt contextualised recruitment

28 September 2015

  • 1,500 graduate and school leaver positions to be recruited using contextualised data;
  • School and university-blind interviews to address unconscious bias;
  • 100 new positions created for school leavers through redesigned BrightStart scheme;
  • 200 students to gain work experience through extended ASPIRE programme.

Deloitte, the professional services firm, is to use contextualised academic data to recruit more than 1,500 graduates and school-leavers. It becomes the largest British business to enter into a partnership with Rare, a specialist in diversity recruitment. The partnership will give Deloitte’s recruiters a range of standardised data on candidates’ economic background and personal circumstances, allowing them to make more informed choices about candidates by considering the context in which their academic achievements have been gained.

The announcement marks the start of Deloitte’s inaugural Social Mobility Week and forms part of a comprehensive package of measures which the firm hopes will help it to access a more diverse pool of talent, whilst also contributing to the societal challenge of improving social mobility by increasing opportunity for and investing in the development and training of young people.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “Improving social mobility is one of the UK’s biggest challenges. For us, there is also a clear business imperative to get this right. In order to provide the best possible service and make an impact with our clients, we need to hire people who think and innovate differently, come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of perspectives and experience into the firm. We truly value this difference.

“Our response to this challenge reflects the value we place in the UK’s education system and the hard work that young people and teachers put in to achieve good exam results. Contextualisation allows us to recognise these important qualifications for young people, whilst also ensuring that for example, 3Bs at A Level in a school where the average student achieves 3Ds, is identified as exceptional performance.”

The other measures announced by Deloitte include:

  • The introduction of school and university-blind interviews to help prevent unconscious bias and ensure that job offers are made on the basis of present potential, not past personal circumstance. Interviewers no longer have access to details of an applicant’s school or university until an offer has been made;
  • The creation of an additional 100 jobs for school and college-leavers through its redesigned BrightStart Business Apprenticeship Scheme. This is in addition to the 100 positions that have been available through the scheme since its launch in 2011, taking the total number of A-Level entry vacancies to 200. Deloitte will partner with 100 schools nationally, selected to ensure a socially diverse range of candidates apply to join the programme. BrightStart offers ambitious school and college-leavers an alternative entry route into the firm and the opportunity to gain a professional or technical qualification;
  • An increase in the number of places available on its Deloitte ASPIRE programme. The scheme, which this year provided work experience to 140 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be extended to include 200 students each year from 2016.

Sproul added: “At Deloitte, we are working hard to ensure that our talent pool is diverse and reflects the make-up of today’s society. We want to show that everyone can thrive, develop and succeed in our firm based on their talent, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other dimension that can be used to differentiate people from one another. This includes an individual’s social or economic background, which we know continues to be used to hold some people back.

“We believe the variety of interventions announced today will enable us to deliver on our social mobility objectives. They build on established programmes already in place to improve social mobility and employability throughout our profession and society as a whole, including our Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers initiative and the Deloitte Access programme.”


Notes to editors

About Rare
Rare is a specialist graduate diversity recruitment company that connects world-class people with world-class careers in top organisations. Rare has for the last ten years specialised in placing top candidates in graduate roles with some of the best companies in the world.

The company has in excess of 5,000 candidates on its books, of whom some 1,400 are current students attending 40 universities. Rare offers a bespoke service to students from diverse backgrounds, working closely with them to assess their strengths, weaknesses and motivations, and assisting them in identifying their target industries and organisations. Support is offered throughout the application process and beyond using an extensive range of guides, award-winning programmes, seminars and one-on-one training and development sessions.

About the Contextual Recruitment System
The Rare Contextual Recruitment System allows recruiters, for the first time, to understand the context in which a candidate’s experiences have been gained. The result of two years of intense research and close collaboration with world-class universities and elite global employers, the CRS has been described as ‘revolutionary’. CRS was inspired by Big Data and the selection techniques used by the UK’s leading universities, which make differential offers to students based on ‘contextual data’.

  • An expert geodemographer at Cambridge University and an expert in data science from Oxford University have informed the algorithms and analytics of the CRS
  • Rare built two new databases to power the CRS: the first contains the exam results of over 4,000 secondary schools and sixth form colleges nationally; the second contains 2.5 million UK postcodes
  • The CRS uses this information, together with the candidates’ responses to questions asked as part of the application process, to produce real-time contextual information on all the candidates.

Deloitte’s Social Mobility Week will run from 28 September – 4 October. Throughout the week, the firm will be working with clients and partners to run a series of internal events focusing on employability and social mobility.

The BrightStart Apprenticeship Scheme is a new iteration of the existing BrightStart School Leavers Scheme. The scheme will offer 200 places to school and college-leavers who will have the opportunity to study technical qualifications alongside working at the firm.

Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers supports high performing social enterprises, providing them with a tailored support package to help them grow to scale and become investment-ready. Since its foundation in 2012, the programme has supported 58 social businesses across the UK, investing 15,000 hours of employee time and engaging more than 2,000 people.

The Deloitte ASPIRE work experience programme launched in September 2015 and consists of a week of skills workshops, career insight sessions and work shadowing. Next year, the programme will take on 200 students across our regional offices.

Deloitte Access, delivered in collaboration with Teach First, is a programme designed to raise aspirations, support achievement and provide improved post-education opportunities for schools in low-income communities. Through the scheme, more than 1,600 Deloitte volunteers have supported 4,400 students from 14 schools across the UK.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

James Igoe
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7303 8247
+44 (0) 79 7178 3533

Laura Parsons
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7303 0885
+44 (0) 78 2695 2940

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