The study highlights both the importance of maths and reading skills, but also the difficulty of making substantive changes to outcomes for pupils. A difference of 1 standard deviation (an effect size of 1) is a challenging improvement to make, given that interventions that have an effect size of +0.2 in education are considered effective. The authors do not look at whether the effect was consistent across the ability range; it would be interesting to know if the effect was more dramatic for the bottom 10% of pupils, for example. Also, the study only looked at employed people. Reading and maths skills are also known to affect unemployment, of course.
Source: Reading and Maths Skills at Age 10 and Earnings in Later Life: A Brief Analysis Using the British Cohort Study (2013), Department for Education.