Careers education given to pupils in secondary school can be linked to higher earnings in adult life, according to researchers.
A study published in the Journal of Education and Work suggests that better-informed teenagers are likely to make more advantageous career choices.
It measures the earnings benefit as an extra £2,000 per year for every six careers sessions when aged 14 to 15.
Researchers used the British Cohort Study tracking 17,000 people.
The research, commissioned by the Education and Employers charity, found that once other factors were taken into account, such as exam results and economic background, there were higher earnings for those who had received sustained careers advice in school.
The study, by Christian Percy and Elnaz Kashefpakdela from the University of Bath, used data from the British Cohort Study which has been tracking the health, wealth and education of people since 1970.
It concluded that there was a long-lasting employment impact from careers talks and lessons.
Where there were “higher levels of employer contacts, in the form of careers talks with outside speakers”, researchers found that this was linked to higher returns in the labour market.
They concluded that getting careers information and meeting employers in school had a “meaningful and statistically significant impact on later earnings”.
Anthony Mann, director of policy and research for Education and Employers, said: “Other well-known studies have highlighted the benefits of employer engagement, but never before have we had such a robust analysis drawing on such rich data.”
Nick Soar, head teacher at Bishop Challoner Catholic Federation in east London, backed the benefits of outside speakers from industry.
“The pupils love it. They ask endless questions and you can see it really brings home to them what they need to do to succeed in the workplace,” he said.
CBI president Paul Drechsler said: “This report makes clear the importance and impact of great careers insights and advice from people in the business world.”
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education director, said the study provided evidence for how “career education translates into measurable earnings advantages”.
Education and Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said the research “provides further evidence of the positive impact an employer can have on a young person’s future career”.