Competition for graduate jobs is fierce, especially for well-paid positions, and every candidate is keen to stand out from the crowd. It seems graduates who enjoyed a private education could have a head start, and be more likely to bag the best salaries according to a new report.
The Sutton Trust and UpReach researched the pay of graduates in professions such as law and financial services. On average, those who went to fee-paying schools earned £4,500 more than their state school colleagues.
The report put the earnings gap down to the university attended along with prior academic attainment, but suggested non-academic factors, such as assertiveness, articulacy, and other essential soft skills, were a factor too.
Not only did privately educated graduates earn more three years after leaving university, their salaries also increased more rapidly – going up by £3,000 more over the same three-and-a-half year period. Three years after graduation, those who had attended independent schools earned £36,036 on average compared to £31,586 for those who went to state school.
The study found 71% of state-school educated graduates were still in such employment three-and-a-half years later, compared with 65% for those privately educated.
"This suggests that once undergraduates from less privileged backgrounds access professional employment, they are more likely to stay and build a career within the professions," said the report.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, 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 is it that firms do more to improve social mobility through their recruitment practices. Enabling greater access to a wider pool of diverse talent will deliver real benefits for employers and employees alike."
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