Does socioeconomic background affect pay growth among early entrants to high-status jobs?

Publication date: 6 Aug 2015 | Publication type: NIESR Discussion Paper | Theme: Employment & Social policy | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 453 | Project: Progression in the professions: is there an association between socio-economic background and success in professional employment

Young people from less advantaged backgrounds are less likely to enter a “professional” job on leaving university (Macmillan et al., 2013). However, this does not tell us about the performance of those who do. This paper considers the relative salary growth of graduates that secure a high-status job by both parental occupational status and school type, using data from a recent survey of English graduates. Using non-parametric techniques and regression modelling, I estimate the relationship between these measures of socio-economic status and pay progression in a “professional” job. I find no evidence of a pay growth differential by parents' occupational status but do find faster pay growth among those that attended a private school, even once I control for a range of background characteristics. Conversely, I find that individuals from state school backgrounds are just as likely to remain in high-status jobs at this early stage of their careers.

Keyword tags: 
graduates
socio-economic status
pay progression

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