If a privately educated person and a state educated person enter the same profession at the same time, with the same academic achievements to show on their CVs, the privately educated person will end up earning more, according to new research by the Sutton Trust and UpReach.
By studying initial graduate salaries in the top professions in the UK, and tracking how they changed over a three-year period, they identified a clear trend in favour of those whose parents had paid for them to go to school.
On average, a person with a private education earned a salary £24,066 six months after graduating, compared with £22,735 for a state educated person - a difference of £1,331.
The contrast was more significant three and a half years down the line, however, when privately educated people tended to earn an annual salary £4,450 greater than state educated people.
The professions they looked at included solicitors, economists, accountants, pharmacists, engineers and scientists. The researchers only compared salaries in the same professions, rather than across all forms of employment.
In light of the findings, the report said:
Previous research by the Sutton Trust and upReach has shown that graduates from less privileged backgrounds are less likely to enter elite professions like law and the financial services, and has shown the size of the private school pay premium overall. But today’s figures show that a private school education can have an immediate effect on graduates’ pay progression soon after they start work.
Why the difference?
While the ranking of university attended played some part in the pay gap, the researchers said a lot of it came down to social confidence.
They said the fact privately educated people are often more assertive and articulate helps them secure bigger salaries.