As the mother of two teenagers, and someone who started working during her summer school breaks at the age of thirteen, I'm a huge believer in teenage employment. Those first jobs offer a valuable employment education, helping to create clarity and drive in a young person. Especially, when it involves a job they don't love. Nothing helps a young person realize how important it is to get a good education and find a career path than to work a summer job that is less than ideal. Unfortunately, those jobs are becoming scarce. And, it's hurting our youth's ability to prepare for the adult working world.
Summer Job Openings Are At An All-Time Low In The U.S.
According to a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., summer jobs for teens are essentially vanishing. The main culprit? Retail stores are shutting down thousands of stores. Thanks to online sales, the brick-and-mortar locations that once employed our youth are disappearing. Truth be told, the rate of teen participation in the U.S. labor force has steadily declined in the last 40 years, from a peak of 72 percent in 1978 to 43 percent last year. And, while there are several factors to blame, such as increased extracurricular involvement and higher enrollment in summer school, the fact that retailers (which account for roughly 25% of teen jobs) are shutting down stores in droves is making the biggest impact.
Want Your Teen To Work This Summer? Try This...
If you are determined to see your teen get off the couch and head off to work this summer, then here are a few tips to help them beat out the competition.
1) Start now. Most kids wait until school's out to look for a job. That's too late. Have them identify places they'd like to work and get the process going now.
2) Give them basic job seeker training. Walk your child through the steps it takes to get a job, including some interview prep so they can confidently talk about their experience, skills, interests and abilities.
3) Leverage your network to speed up the process. Instead of just blasting out a note on Facebook announcing your teen needs a summer job, figure out where the employment opportunities are and tap into your network to see if you know anyone that works there. 80 percent of all jobs are gotten via referral. Using your network to get your teen introduced to someone at the company can help them land an interview faster.
Here's Some Added Incentive To Help Your Child Land A Summer Gig
If you're feeling like the above is too much work on your part, consider this: The No. 1 thing employers value most when hiring college grads is a history of working while in school. Why? It turns out school teaches them everything except how to be a good employee. Science says nagging them now to get a job could make sure they aren't back on your couch after graduation!