Employers would pay an extra £2,261 a year to staff with the benchmark five good GCSEs, research suggests.
Fewer than half of teenagers got five good GCSEs in 2006
Those with five GCSEs grade A* to C, or their vocational equivalent, would get an average of £13,016 a year, a survey of 271 recruiting managers suggested.
This compares with an average salary of £11,412 for a person with just one GCSE or its vocational equivalent.
The Learning and Skills Council poll suggested employers would pay new staff an average of £450 more for every GCSE.
The LSC researchers tried to calculate the added value of each GCSE to someone's starting salary, to demonstrate the link between qualifications and the wage packet.
It did this by asking a group of recruiting managers what they would pay staff with different sets of qualifications as a starting salary and then calculating the average.
Managers said they would pay those with two GCSEs an average of £11,624 a year and those with three an average of £12,052.
Those with four would average £12,553 and staff with five would net £13,016 on average.
The research is backed up by Office of National Statistics data which suggests people with the minimum five GCSEs earn an average of £55 a week more than those without such qualifications.
Director of young people's learning at the LSC Julia Dowd said: "We congratulate those who have got their Level 2 qualifications and to those who haven't, the message is that by staying on in learning young people can significantly improve their employability.
"Financial support is available in the form of education maintenance allowance so I would urge all young people to ensure they gain the minimum set of qualifications needed to get on in life or risk seriously damaging their earnings potential."
Some 45.8% of GCSE candidates in England got five good GCSEs in 2006.