Students can expect to earn higher salaries in their 20s if they have contact with employers during their time at school.
Research suggests that young people who took part in four or more activities with employers while at school earn an average of £23,100 a year between the ages of 19 and 24.
Those who report having had no employer contact at school earn an average of £19,500 – £3,600 less.
Each employer contact was found to be worth on average an extra £900 a year.
The analysis, compiled by Dr Anthony Mann, director of policy and research at the Education and Employers Taskforce, and economist Chris Percy, is based on a study of 985 students aged 19 to 24.
The research looked at their current employment circumstances and links to their experiences of “school-mediated employer contacts”, such as short periods of work experience, workplace visits and careers talks.
Dr Mann explained: “There is now a strong case for larger scale research in order to understand precisely which types of people most benefit from employer engagement in their labour market outcomes and on how qualitative experiences of employer engagement influence outcomes.”
Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce, a charity which promotes contact between employers and schools, added: “These are very important findings if we are to give young people of all backgrounds the best chance of earning more in later life.
“This research has shown the way for all schools to give their students the prospect of earning more in their early 20s and beyond.”
The study, Employer Engagement in British Secondary Education: Wage earning outcomes experienced by young adults is published in the current edition of the Journal of Education and Work.
For more on the work of the Education and Employers Taskforce, visit www.educationandemployers.org