Part-time jobs a valuable experience for teens, study finds

Part-time jobs a valuable experience for teens

Everyone remembers their first part-time job, whether it was stacking shelves at a supermarket, delivering papers or making things on an assembly line.

Some might look upon these holiday, weekend and after-school positions as being among the best times of their lives, while others would probably rather forget all about them. However, the chances are that this first foray into the world of work did us all good, according to new research.

A team at the University of British Columbia in Canada followed almost 250,000 youngsters from the age of 15 until they were 25, with the study period ending in 2009.

The hours they worked – if they had part-time jobs – were analysed and then they were followed as they progressed into careers after they left school.

It was found that those who worked in their spare time had a significant advantage over their peers who didn't. Indeed, they were much more likely to find good employment and earn more money as they got older, even if their initial roles had been menial and low-skilled.

The researchers discovered the workers had better soft skills, were good at job-hunting and networking and tended to be looked on more favourably because of their fuller CVs. They also typically had a stronger impression of exactly what they wanted their career to be.

Study co-author Marc-David Seidel said in the journal Research in the Sociology of Work: "With summer in full swing and kids sitting on the couch, many parents are wondering whether to push them to find a job. Parents may think that their kids could do better than a job at the local fast food joint. But our study shows even flipping burgers has value."

If you've got teens who could do with some experience, why not use your established career networks to help? Bosses are more likely to take a chance on a young person if they're recommended by someone they know.

You could even suggest they set up their own business – perhaps book a tarot reading with us if you want more guidance about what they might be destined to do.

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