The average graduate will have to work to the age of 33 before they overtake the earnings of their peers who leave school and go into work at 18, according to education consultancy Gabbitas.
This is largely due to the cost of financing undergraduate studies. The consultancy said four out of 10 graduates owe at least £10,000.
Five years ago, graduates were able to break-even at 28, but the rising cost of tuition fees mean it now takes university-leavers five years longer to pay off their debts.
However, average graduate lifetime earnings will be over £100,000 more than someone with only A-levels, according to government figures.