School careers talks 'can boost teens' future earning power'


Teenagers can earn thousands of pounds more if they have access to careers talks at school, according to a study.

It suggests that there is a wages boost for every talk a student takes part in - with those who find these sessions helpful the most likely to see the biggest financial benefit.

The research, by the Education and Employers charity, analysed data gathered through the British Cohort Study, which tracks people born in 1970, to examine the link between careers advice and guidance at school and future earnings.

Youngsters taking part in the study were in their teens in the mid 1980s.

It found that for each career talk with someone outside of the school, a 14 or 15-year-old benefited from a 0.8% earnings premium at the age of 26.

And a student of this age who found these sessions very helpful saw a 1.6% increase in wages for each talk they attended.

Pupils aged 14 who experienced six talks that they found very helpful could expect to see a £2,000 boost in their salary at the age of 26, if they were in full-time employment, the charity concluded.

The effect of exposure to careers talks were larger and more significant for 14 and 15-year-olds than 15- to 16-year-olds.

"The results demonstrate a clear association between the number of career talks attended by young people and their relative earnings at age 26," a summary of the research says.

"Findings revealed that the impact of careers talks were more pronounced for the younger age group, 14-15, than they were for the elder group, 15-16.

"The authors argue that the older age group may be more focused on examinations, while the younger group were more likely to be receptive to career talks due to the year group being more of an explorative period."

Other factors that influence earnings, such as economic status and academic ability were taken into account by researchers.

Dr Anthony Mann, director of policy and research at Education and Employers, said: "This demonstrates how much young people can benefit when employers and schools work together, and it doesn't have to be onerous.

"Even an hour's talk in a school can have an impact later in life. The more exposure young people have to professional careers provision, the better.

"The advantage of the British Cohort Study is its reliable data. While a lot has changed since the 80s, the findings are likely still to be relevant.

"The labour market is more complex today, and it's even more of a challenge for young people to understand its breadth and what qualifications and skills will best prepare them for a successful career.

"Arguably, the value of career talks and employer insights will be even greater for pupils today."