Privately educated earn more than state school pupils once they get a top job

Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire
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PRIVATELY educated graduates working in top jobs get bigger pay rises and quickly earn thousands of pounds more than those who went to state school, a new study shows.

Three-and-a-half years after leaving university, those who went to a fee-paying school take home almost £4,500 more, according to a research brief published by the Sutton Trust and upReach today.

The findings mean that not only are pupils from poorer backgrounds under-represented in top professions but even when they get there they are likely to earn less.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said the findings show that graduates from less privileged backgrounds face a clear disadvantage when it comes to pay increases. The brief, says that six months after graduation, those working in “a high-status job” who attended private school were earning £24,066 a year on average, while those who were state educated were taking home £22,735 - a difference of around £1,300.

The findings, based on research by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, show that from there the gap in the income continues to grow. After around three years in the workplace, the gap widens, with former private school students earning around 14 per cent more - £36,036 on average, compared to £31,586 for someone who went to state school, a difference of £4,450.

The study claims around half of this earnings difference is down to factors such as a graduate’s prior achievement at school and the type of university they attended. But it also suggests “non-academic skills such as articulacy or assertiveness” could play a role in helping privately-educated pupils career progression once in employment.

The research does not provide a regional breakdown. However the Sutton Trust has produced a map ranking Parliamentary constituencies on how likely pupils from deprived backgrounds are to get into professional occupations. This revealed social mobility was greater in the South of England than the North. It also showed major regional variations within Yorkshire. Harrogate was ranked top out of 533 constituencies for getting students from deprived backgrounds into professions. But there were many areas of Yorkshire among the lowest ranked such as Sheffield Heeley, Doncaster North, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and Calder Valley.

Previous research published by the trust and upReach, an organisation supporting less privileged students to secure top jobs, concluded that those from more disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to enter elite professions such as law or finance.

Sir Peter said: “We know that graduates from less privileged backgrounds are under-represented in the top professions but today’s research shows that they face disadvantage when it comes to pay progression too. This new research shows us how vital it is that firms do more to improve social mobility through their recruitment practices.”