The Sutton Trust research brief Private Pay Progression, on the pay advantages for the privately educated in the workplace, was mentioned in a written parliamentary question. Phil Boswell, SNP MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, asked on 15 October 2015:

  • To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps the Government (a) has taken and (b) plans to take in response to the finding of the Sutton Trust in its research brief entitled Private Pay Progression, published on 6 August 2015, that despite performing as well, if not better, at university, graduates from less privileged backgrounds are less likely to enter the professions.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the implications for his Department’s policies are of the finding in the British Journal of Sociology that despite rising numbers of young people from non-traditional backgrounds coming through the higher education system, there is declining social mobility.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson answered on 16 October 2015, saying:

  • The Government notes the report by the Sutton Trust and its conclusions in respect of graduates. Widening access to higher education is a high priority and the latest UCAS data shows that a record proportion of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds will enter higher education this year. As well as increasing access to higher education, we will consult in the autumn on proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework which will strengthen incentives for universities and colleges to focus on student retention and progression into work or further study. Through the Social Mobility Business Compact, Government is also working with around 190 employers to open up opportunities to candidates from all backgrounds. These employers have committed to adapt their outreach activities, their work experience programmes, and their recruitment processes to ensure that candidates from less privileged backgrounds are not excluded.
  • The findings of the British Journal of Sociology are principally drawn from data in the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohort studies and should be read in the context of other research into the benefits of higher education to individuals. Over their working life, the average graduate will earn comfortably over £100,000 more in today’s valuation, net of tax, than a similar individual who completed their education with 2 or more A levels. By lifting the cap on student numbers, the Government is enabling more people than ever before to benefit from higher education.

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