School careers talks can boost teens' future earning power


School careers talks are more effective than you might think, according to a new study. A study indicated that teens could earn thousands of pounds more if they have access to career talks at school, with a wage boost for every talk a student takes part in.

Those who find these sessions helpful are 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.

A teacher during a History lesson at Pittville High School

Those who took part in the study were teens in the mid 80s. The study 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.

A student of this age who said they 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.

Pupils at school

"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.