Privately Educated Graduates Earn More

Research released by The Sutton Trust in August 2015 found that the salaries received by university graduates who were educated at private schools increase more quickly than university graduates who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The key findings of the report include:

  • Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely than their more advantaged peers to enter the professions.
  • There is not enough understanding of how graduates’ backgrounds affect them once they have graduated from university and are in employment.
  • The pay progression amongst graduates who were educated at private schools is greater than those from state schools. Six months after graduation the average difference in salary between state and privately educated graduates is £1,300.  After 3 years, private school alumni found that their salary grew 11% more than their peers who had been educated in a state school.
  • By the age of 42, someone who has been privately educated will earn £193,700 more than a person educated in a state school. Even once the impact of family background and prior educational achievement has been taken into account, there is a still a difference of £58,000.
  • Three and a half years after graduation from university, those who were educated privately earn £4,500 more than their peers who were educated in state schools.
  • Half of the difference in pay can be accounted for by educational achievement or the type of further education institution attended. However, this means that half of the pay difference cannot be accounted for by such variables and instead may indicate that non-academic skills such as assertiveness, articulation, awareness or self-confidence also have a significant impact on the likelihood of promotion for individuals.
  • There was also some suggestion that graduates from more disadvantaged backgrounds are slightly more likely to remain in high status jobs. Three and a half years after graduation 71% of those from less privileged backgrounds were still in high-status jobs, compared to 65% of those from better off backgrounds.  However this finding was “only marginally statistically significant”.

The Sutton Trust have also called for further research into the effect of non-academic skills on graduate career progression.

To read more about this research, please click here.

Helen Robinson