Professionals with working class roots are paid nearly £7,000 less than colleagues from more privileged backgrounds, according to new research. 

The Social Mobility Commission’s study found even those with the same role, education and experience, earned seven per cent less than counterparts from more affluent families in the UK. That works out at just under £2,250 a year. 

The research was carried out by the London School of Economics and University College London for the Commission, using data of tens of thousands of people from the UK Labour Force survey. It found that those from disadvantaged backgrounds were paid 17 per cent less on average – around £6,800 a year. Women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are worst affected. 

The highest pay gap was in finance, at £13,713, with the next highest gap being in the medical profession at £10,218 and then information technology at £4,736. 

The study suggests this disparity is partly caused by differences in educational background, as well as a tendency for those from middle-class backgrounds to work in bigger firms and move to cities like London for work. 

It also found those from poorer backgrounds may not push for pay rises or promotion for fear of not fitting in. They also tend not to have the same networks and opportunities as more privileged counterparts. The research also found that, except those of Chinese heritage, black and ethnic professionals earned less than white colleagues. 

“It is vital that the findings of this research are now used to encourage more professional firms to break down the barriers that are preventing capable employees from thriving,” said Caroline Underhill, practice lead for Thompsons’ equal pay team. 

“Employers found to be discriminating against their staff because of gender, race or economic background must be penalised. But it’s not just employers who need to be more accountable for the concerns highlighted in this report. 

“It’s about time the government did something more concrete to close the wealth gap that exists in the UK, such as investing in our education system and ensuring access to our higher education system for all who seek it - not just those who can afford it. 

“This report highlights numerous inequalities for employees that start way before they enter the workplace. It’s time for these inequalities to be addressed.”