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Personal Income

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effects of low educational attainment on employability and life time income. (250444)

There is strong evidence to show significant wage and employment benefits for young people achieving well at school, compared to young people who do not attain. These benefits persist throughout people's lifetimes. There are also clear benefits of higher skill levels to the economy and to society. There are a number of studies looking at wage and employment benefits of qualifications. For example, research by the Centre for the Economics of Education found that people with five or more GCSEs at A*-C earn on average around 9-11 per cent. more than those without and are around 3 percentage points more likely to be employed. People achieving one to four GCSEs at A*-C earn a positive wage return of around 5 per cent. and are around 1-2 percentage points more likely to be employed than those without.

The Department is committed to enabling as many young people as possible to achieve their potential. Raising the participation age (RPA) from 2013 will be a key lever to improve the attainment of young people as they enter the labour market. Independently verified research estimates the economic benefits of raising the participation age to be around £2.4 billion per year group over the course of their lifetime. This research was published alongside the introduction of the Education and Skills Bill to the House in November 2007.

For further details of the methodology and data sources used to estimate the economic benefits of RPA (and the magnitude of the benefits under alternative scenarios), the full report is accessible at:

The research has been placed in the House of Commons Library.