Progression in the professions: is there an association between socio-economic background and success in professional employment

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Summary & aims

Dr Jake Anders was commissioned by upReach and The Sutton Trust to analyse the extent to which there is a relationship between social background and succeeding in professional employment, to help them better understand the challenges faced by graduates from less privileged backgrounds who enter “high-status” jobs on graduating from university. upReach is a non-profit committed to equal access to professional employment for undergraduates from less-privileged backgrounds. Its aim was to tackle the challenge faced by undergraduates from less-privileged backgrounds by supporting them to develop the non-academic capabilities required to fulfil their career potential.


The primary output from this project was a research report based on an analysis of data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s longitudinal Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey. This explored the differences in graduate pay growth by social background, as one indicator of success.

Timescale and Funder

While upReach and The Sutton Trust commissioned this work, it is being carried out independently at NIESR. The project began in January 2015 and the research report completed in April 2015.