The impact of work placements on graduate earnings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates whether the completion of an optional ‘sandwich’ work placement enhances graduate starting salaries. We use a variety of multivariate regression techniques to investigate this issue and find that the graduate starting salaries of students who took professional work placements were significantly higher by £1686 ($2105) compared to non-placement students. We make a methodological contribution to the literature by controlling for self-selection bias. That is, our analysis takes into consideration that certain students self-select in to work placements and that they would have had higher starting salaries regardless of whether choosing to take a work placement. Additional insights showed that placements may be detrimental in terms of alleviating class and gender pay inequality but may have helped to reduce ethnic pay inequality. Our results have important implications for graduate employability and its impact on wider society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1708-1723
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number11
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.


  • Graduate earnings
  • employability
  • pay inequality
  • self-selection
  • work placement


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of work placements on graduate earnings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this