City firms struggle to pick the best as A-Level results rise

CITY firms face increasing difficulties selecting the most promising students to enter their graduate programmes, as more A-level students landed &lsquo;A&rsquo; grades yesterday than ever before.<br /><br />Over one in four exam entries were rewarded with the top grade, ahead of plans by education authorities to introduce a new A* grade next year to mark out the very top candidates.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is even harder for City firms to differentiate between applicants when results are improving all the time,&rdquo; said Sylvia Perrins, the chief executive of the National Skills Academy Financial Services. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not enough any more to have good A-levels. Employers will choose those who stand out from the crowd by demonstrating financial literacy and teamwork skills, as well as work experience.&rdquo;<br /><br />Stevan Rolls, the head of human resources at accountancy firm Deloitte, which takes on around 1,000 graduates per year in the UK, said: &ldquo;The issue here is that most City organisations are very difficult to get into and are looking for the very highest levels of graduate achievement.<br /><br />&ldquo;Differentiating between candidates is obviously getting harder as students standards improve, so it is a natural and necessary consequence of any qualification to continually recalibrate standards.&rdquo;<br /><br />Jenny Fox, head of careers at the Financial Services Skills Council, added that having a larger pool of potential applicants could encourage graduate employers to begin assessing skill levels much earlier on in the application process.