New data shows that UK students who attend private school will earn an average of £4,500 more annually after three years of employment than graduates who attended a state run school.
The payoff of private education begins even before those three years. After just six months after being hired for a high-status job, private school graduates earn an average of £1,300 more than their state-educated counterparts with a similar job, writes Sally Weale for The Guardian.
After three and a half years of work, there is an earnings gap of 14% between private and state-funded graduates.
Jobs where these differences were reflected included engineers, scientists, pharmacists, higher education teachers, solicitors, economists, accountants and psychologists.
The report was conducted by the Sutton Trust, which works to improve social mobility through education, and upReach, an organization that helps graduates from less privileged backgrounds secure prestigious jobs.
The Department of Educations claims that their goal is to ensure education excellence so that that every child reaches their full potential regardless of background, reports RT.
"This is why we are raising standards with a rigorous new curriculum, world class exams and a new accountability system that recognized the schools that equip every child with the skills they need to succeed," it said in a statement.
Despite a higher pay grade, privately educated graduates did not stay at their positions as long as graduates from state-funded schools. 65% of private school graduates were still in their employment compared to 71% of their less-privileged peers, reports Katherine Sellgren for BBC News.
The data shows that state-educated graduates have the ability to follow through on a career path and succeed.
"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," it says.
This research points out the importance of improving social mobility through recruitment practices and that the struggle of less-privileged graduates does not end on the first day of work.
The report also suggests that there is more than academic education factoring in to the difference in pay. Assertiveness and articulacy, among other non-academic skills, come into play when assessing career progression.
The United Kingdom is currently embroiled in a national debate about the state's approach to education. A leading candidate for the UK Labour Party's leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn, has suggested a plan for a National Education System in order to thwart problems such as the earnings gap as well as strengthening the economy as a whole.
Corbyn believes that the UK could benefit greatly from a more skilled work force. He says that providing students with education at no cost and reinstating government maintenance grants would help in reaching that goal.
"When we fail to invest in people their potential is wasted and our economy underperforms. The more we empower people with the skills they need to succeed the stronger the economy we build. A country that doesn't invest in its people has taken the path of managed decline. The only global race we will win is to the bottom."