Cambridge University. The typical Oxbridge graduate starts on a salary of about £25,000 a year / Getty Images

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds have had to work harder to get in

Oxbridge graduates who come from disadvantaged homes earn bigger starting salaries than those from families with a history of going to university, according to a study by the Sutton Trust.

The education charity shows that students who are the first in their family to attend university earn £927 a year more in their first job, on average.

The research, carried out for the trust by Dr Robert Vries, a sociology research fellow at Oxford, concludes: “This is an interesting result in that it reverses the typical earnings advantage of those from better-off backgrounds.

“However, it is consistent with the finding of a recent study showing… students entering university from state schools tended to outperform their private-school counterparts in terms of their eventual degree classification.”

Academics believe state school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to have had to struggle harder to get into Oxford and are determined to make the best of it when they arrive.

The figures are revealed in research showing that the typical Oxbridge graduate starts on a salary of about £25,000 a year: £7,600 a year higher than a graduate attending one of the UK’s newer universities.

Even when their pay is compared with that of graduates from the country’s 11 other leading universities, they are still £3,300 a year better off.