Summer and Part-Time Jobs Are Worth More Than Just Cash

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We already know jobs are valuable to teens—they teach hard work and responsibility, and give teens some extra cash to save or spend (hopefully save!). But according to a recent study from the UBC Sauder School of Business, those hours at the ice cream shop or sitting in the lifeguard chair can do more than that—they can actually give teens the edge they need to make more money and have more opportunities later in life.

The study analyzed data from the Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey, which listed the work history of over 250,000 youths across Canada. Researchers looked at the youth’s employment history over 10 years, from ages 15 to 25, and found that summer or after-school jobs help teens learn “soft skills” (like positive attitude and work ethic), as well as set teens up for better references and give them a leg-up on the job hunt.

The study also found that the more hours teens were working at 15, the better their career prospects were in the future. Part of this edge comes from understanding time management, a skill which teens that balance a part-time job with schoolwork are forced to learn. And interestingly enough, a part-time job continued to be beneficial for teens for up to 33 hours per week during the school year, and 43 hours per week during the summer.

It also appears that the job itself doesn’t matter as much as the resources and skills teens learn there. "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 -- particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school term," says study co-author, Marc-David L. Seidel.

We know getting a career-kickstart is great for teens — now let's help them land the first job! Subscribe to Choices for the teens in your life for stories like “Land Your Summer Dream Job.” And once they apply, help them nail the interview with this video from Choices TV.