At the 25th TARGETjobs Breakfast News, the audience of 200 graduate recruiters, universities and agencies were told by Simon Howard, Chairman of Work Group, to ‘dump the 2.1 and UCAS points’ when it came to selecting applicants. Simon pointed out that a 2.1 entry requirement in particular was discriminatory and his research showed that the groups who stood to lose out were candidates from less privileged schools and backgrounds, ethnic minorities, undergraduates doing ‘difficult’ degree subjects like science and engineering and men (who were more likely to be studying technical subjects).

Furthermore, he claimed it didn’t even make sense as evidence shows that undergraduates at leading universities who received a 2.2 are often academically superior to students at less targeted institutions who gained a higher grade. His advice was to stop immediately and select all students fairly on their ability and potential. In some subjects like engineering and law, the application of the 2.1 bar immediately excluded about 40 per cent of potential applicants, which he felt was a terrible waste of talent. A show of hands in the audience, however, revealed that most recruiters were currently recruiting in this way.

Simon was speaking at TARGETjobs Breakfast News, sponsored by Work Group and held in association with the AGR on 29 November at Avenue in London. The theme of the event was ‘2.1 or nothing?’ and other speakers were Bryan Finn from Business Economics, Jane Clark from Barclays, Iain Heath from Centrica and Professor Adrian Furnham from UCL. TARGETjobs Breakfast News is held five times a year and is fast becoming the key information and networking event for the world of graduate recruitment.