Children with lots of friends at school go on to earn more in later life, a new study has claimed.

Research presented at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference said kids with a lot of friends in secondary school went on to earn ten per cent higher salaries than their peers.

Authors Lucia Barbone and Peter Dolton from the University of Sussex said their study suggested young people who are less well-off could escape poverty through developing good social skills.

"Being a key player seems to pay back in terms of earnings at adult life," they wrote.

"Social skills cannot simply be defined as 'having friends', but include a strategic feature as well.

"Having social skills means [being] able to connect with other key players inside the network. In some sense, this can be seen as a learning process that one is unlikely to lose in the future."

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