Results are out! Find what you Get quick advice or join the chat
  • Graduate Employers Guides - Ernst - Young

TSR Wiki > Careers > Graduate Employers Guides > Ernst & Young

Employer Information

  • Application deadline: No specific deadline; applications are taken until all available places are filled. Current vacancies can be found here
  • Starting salaries: Varies by region
  • Regions: Nationwide. UK office locations are in Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Reading and Southhampton. The UK headquarters are at More London Place, London.
  • Industries:
  • Website:
  • Email: (graduate recruitment)
  • Telephone: 0800 289 208 (graduate recruitment)
  • Address:

What is Ernst & Young?
Ernst & Young (EY) is one of the 'Big Four' largest Competitive professional services firms, and is a global leader in assurance (including audit), tax, transaction and advisory services.

What roles are available at Ernst & Young?
At a graduate level, EY recruit into four distinct service lines:

  • Advisory: Helping firms manage their risks and achieve sustained improvements in their performance.
  • Assurance: Giving stakeholders peace of mind about the validity of financial statements or other vital business information.
  • Coporate Finance: Helping clients buy, sell and merge with other companies
  • Tax: Helping clients comply with and navigate through the complexities of international tax strategies and regimes.

EY also offers a number of student work experience programmes:

  • Summer Internship Programme: A six-week programme for university students who have just completed their penultimate year
  • The Ernst & Young Degree: A BSc (Hons) in Accounting, Auditing & Finance run in partnership with Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), which includes completion of all of the first stage and half of the second stage of the ICAS professional examinations, and commonly leads into a full time graduate position.
  • Industrial Placement: A 12-month placement, undertaken during the placement year of degree course that incorporate such a year.
  • EY Insight Day
  • EY Global Exchange
  • EY Scholarships

Application process for Ernst & Young.
Applications for any of the above roles must initially be made using the online application websites.

The details of the application process then depend on the programme applied for:

  • Summer Internship Programme: The process is significantly simplified from that for a full graduate position. Following application online, selected applicants will be invited to a half-day assessment centre. This assessment consists of an interview with a partner or senior manager, a written exercise based on evaluation of a case study, and a group discussion with other applicants following up on the issues in the case study. Offers and rejections will then be made on the basis of this assessment, within a few days.
  • Graduate positions: In addition to an assessment centre which will be an extended version of that described above for internship positions, there will be a first interview of approximately one hour to select those to be invited to an assessment centre. The stated aim of this interview is "to find out about you as a person, your strengths and attributes, as well as what you’re interested in".

Entry requirements and type of person suited for Ernst & Young.
Most graduate and undergraduate vacancies require at least 300 (24) UCAS points at A level/Scottish Higher (excluding General Studies and re-sits), a minimum B grade in GCSE Mathematics and English Language and a 2:1 honours degree (predicted or obtained). Some business units require more, or ask for specific degree subjects. For example, Business Advisory and Corporate Finance roles require 320 (26) UCAS points.

EY's policy is generally to be strict about academic requirements; however in very exceptional circumstances applications will be accepted from people who don't meet these. In such cases, you'll need to provide strong justification for why your application should be considered, with documentary evidence of any mitigating circumstances where applicable.

Future prospects and training at Ernst & Young.
The great majority of graduate positions at EY will involve a training contract for study towards professional qualifications. For most graduates, this will mean working to become a Chartered Accountant as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) under a three-year training contract. There are three distinct stages to the ICAS exams:

  • Test of Competence (TC): This stage involves an 8-week course immediately upon joining the firm, leading to examinations in the ninth week. Five subjects are covered (each with a single 2-hour exam paper): Financial Accounting (FA), Finance (FIN), Business Management (BM), Law and Principles of Auditing & Reporting (PAR).
  • Test of Professional Skills (TPS): This stage involves a 12-week course at the end of the first year, leading to examinations in the thirteenth week. Four subjects are covered (each with two 2¼-hour exam papers): Financial Reporting (FR), Advanced Finance (AFIN), Tax and Assurance & Business Systems (ABS).
  • Test of Professional Expertise (TPE): The final stage of the qualification is a case study examination, with a 5½-hour paper (split into two sessions, across one day). There is little new technical material for this stage, and training for the exam consists of two 2-week courses towards the end of the second year.

Following completion of the ICAS qualification, certain service lines offer the opportunity to study for further qualifications with support from the firm. For example, those within the tax service line have the opportunity to work towards the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification from the Charted Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

Other comments about Ernst & Young.


Position applied for: Corporate Tax graduate programme
Year of Application: August 2007 entry
Region: Manchester
Educational Background: First in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, 5 As at A-level (science subjects)

What were your experiences of the application process?
My position on the graduate programme was obtained following completion of an internship (again in Corporate Tax in Manchester) in the summer of 2006. My internship application was made fairly late (in January 2006), but I received automatic confirmation of receipt of the application very quickly (I think it was by the next day, but can't remember exactly). I received a call a couple of weeks later inviting me to an assessment centre; unfortunately I had completely unavoidable academic commitments on the same day, so wasn't able to accept that invitation. Fortunately, a few weeks after that I received a further invitation to a later assessment centre that I was able to attend.

I've described the format of the assessment centre above. However, I would add that that all the EY staff I met during the morning were very welcoming and it was reassuring to hear during our introduction from the HR staff that they weren't looking to make a set number of offers amongst the applicants there on the day (there were six of us) - it made to atmosphere less adversarial than it might otherwise have been.

Following the assessment centre, I received a call the next day letting me know that I'd been successful, which was confirmed with a letter in the post shortly after.

The internship could to some extent be described as a very extended assessment procedure. A senior manager within the department acts as your 'counsellor' during the internship (meeting with you weekly to discuss how you're getting on). I understand that there's a meeting between the counsellors of all of the interns during the final week of the program to discuss who should receive an offer of a graduate position, and after completing the internship, I was called by my counsellor the following Monday confirming that I would be offered a position.

What is it like working for Ernst & Young?
It's difficult to know exactly how to comment on such a broad question! Much of the workload is very cyclical - there are definite busy periods, generally in the run-up to the most common company year-end dates (31 March and 31 December), when longer hours may be required (depending on your client portfolio), and the summer months tend to be somewhat quieter. There's plenty of scope for flexible working, and its generally no problem to vary your working hours within reason, for example, provided you can complete the work that's asked of you.

Your development is well supported. Depending on your service line, you'll go on technical training courses (in addition to the ICAS exam training) to give you the technical knowledge and skills that you need for your role. You'll also be assigned a 'counsellor' to oversee your development and help to assess feedback received from other team members. Finally, a 'buddying' program operates with each new intake, with each new joiner assigned a 'buddy' in the year above to help them to settle in and to help with any routine questions they might have, etc.

How has it compared to your expectations?
It's been pretty much in line with what I expected. The role descriptions on the EY website are pretty good at covering what your work will involve. One way in which my actual experience has differed from what I expected is that much of the actual preparation of tax computations is now (as a recent change) carried out at a central shared location, so I do less work directly on computations than would previously have been the case. There's a greater focus on review of these computations and on other compliance-related issues than actual initial preparation, as well as more work in an advisory capacity.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I'm now coming up on the final exam of my ICAS training contract (TPE, the case study), which is in November 2009. Assuming this goes well, I should should qualify in just over a year's time, accompanied by an automatic promotion. I'd hope to look towards taking the CTA exams in the year after qualification, and in five years would like to think that I could achieve a further promotion to manager level, taking responsibility for managing clients and the EY team working on them.

Finally, any advice you would give to potential applicants?
I've heard that the specifics of the interview procedures have recently changed, with increased focus on competencies (e.g., demonstrating how you're worked well in a team). It would also probably be useful to be familiar with the EY Values, which are the basis upon which EY tries to differentiate itself from the rest of the Big Four:

  • People who demonstrate integrity, respect, and teaming.
  • People with energy, enthusiasm, and the courage to lead.
  • People who build relationships based on doing the right thing.

If you have applied to Ernst & Young, we would like you to hear from you. Please use the following form to detail your experiences of application, to aid those interested in following a similar career path.

Position applied for:
Year of Application:
Educational Background:

What were your experiences of the application process?

What is it like working for Ernst & Young?

How has it compared to your expectations?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Finally, any advice you would give to potential applicants?

Try Learn together, TSR's study area



revision notes


a study planner

of discussions

New on TSR

Submitting your UCAS application

How long did it take for yours to be processed?

Article updates