Commenting on the Social Mobility Commission’s research into the class pay gap, Dr Lee Elliot Major, Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, said:

We know too well that graduates from less privileged backgrounds are under-represented in the top professions. But today’s report is a stark warning that disadvantage does not end on a graduate’s first day of work. Despite doing as well as their more privileged colleagues, employees from poorer homes are penalised through their pay packets too.

“Alan Milburn is absolutely right to call for urgent action from employers. While many are already doing excellent work to improve social mobility through their recruitment processes, big firms have to lead the way and make sure that they are addressing the class pay gap too.”


  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 180 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.
  2. Private Pay Progression, a report published by the Sutton Trust in 2015, found that graduates who secure top jobs see their salaries rise more quickly if they went to a private school. Researchers identified a pay gap of £4,450, three years after graduation.
  3. Leading People 2016 showed that the UK’s top jobs– from MPs and journalists, to actors and musicians – remain disproportionately populated by alumni of private schools and Oxbridge, despite these educating only a small minority of the population. It found that almost a third of MPs in the 2015 intake were independently educated. As are nearly a third of those FTSE 100 chief executives that were educated in the UK. Of all High Court and Appeals Court judges, nearly three quarters attended private schools, as did over half of the top 100 news journalists and over two-thirds of British Oscar winners.

Media enquiries

If you're a journalist with a question about our work, get in touch with Hilary or Ruby. If it's out of office hours, you can call or text 07917 462 164.

E: [email protected] T: 020 7802 1660

Keep up to date with the latest news