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8th November 2014

State school graduates will earn less than private school counterparts

There is a pay gap between state school and private school graduates who achieve the same degree in the same subject, and go into the same profession

State school graduates tend to earn less than private school graduates, even in the same occupation with the same level of attainment in the same degree subject.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has revealed that there exists a six per cent gap in earnings between state educated and privately educated students.  This is equivalent to £1500 per year less for state educated students, even when their qualifications are identical.

The survey showed that there was a seven per cent gap in pay between those who graduated with the same degree, which dropped to six per cent if they went into the same job.

Overall, private school graduates earn 17 per cent more, or £4500 more per year than those from state schools.

Arguably this could be attributed to the fact that privately educated students are more likely to attend more selective universities and look for higher paid jobs.

However, this pay gap exists between graduates in the same job and raises questions about whether the ‘old boy network’ is still influential when employers decide which candidates should be offered jobs.

Dr Claire Crawford, assistant professor of economics at the University of Warwick and a researcher at the Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “Education is often regarded as a route to social mobility.”

“But, our research shows that even amongst those who succeed in obtaining a degree, family background—and in particular the type of school they went to—continues to influence their success in the work place.”

This research follows figures released by the Higher Education Statistic Agency, that revealed the top ten universities for privately educated students.

Oxford came out on top with only 57 per cent of state school admissions for 2013/14, closely followed by St. Andrews and Bristol, both below 60 per cent.

The University of Manchester’s figures for 2013/14 reveal that 77 per cent of students are state educated.

The research adds: “There are many reasons why we might expect graduates from the private sector to earn more, including access to particular social networks or having better non-cognitive skills.

“Taken together, our results imply that university does not entirely level the playing field across students from different socio-economic backgrounds.”

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