Remember the excitement you felt when you got your first summer job as a teen? It was that pivotal moment when you knew you had gone from being just a freewheeling kid to being part of the adult world. Whether you worked in a restaurant waiting tables, at a cash register helping customers, as a babysitter, lifeguard or camp counselor – the experiences you had as a teen earner may have made you the working professional you are today.
What the study says about teens who hold down jobs
A recent study, released by Drexel University, revealed that teens who take summer employment are more apt to be successful later on in their adult careers. Paul Harrington, who is a labor economist and lead author of the Drexel University study, said that the survey findings show that, “work experience in a formal job during high school (from ages 16 to 19) correspond to a 20 to 25 percent increase in salary for teens almost a decade later.” (Source: Boston Metro)
Harrington added that, “It’s really important for people to understand how they contribute to making an organization function. The way you understand how that works is by doing it.” The survey went on to provide the following interesting factors connecting teen summer jobs and adult career success.
- In 2000, 44 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 held jobs in the metro Philadelphia area (where the study took place), while today that number has fallen to 25 percent.
- Attending high school regularly while working is a very strong indicator of career success, as it means teens have a better shot at graduating with college degrees.
- More older adults are hanging onto jobs, which means there have been nationwide shortages in job opportunities for teens.
How are teens getting summer jobs in a tough economy?
Given the study results, many teens are looking for help in finding employment. A Fox news article in Omaha, Nebraska highlighted job training programs, which connect teens with jobs via community networks and local businesses willing to work with new workers. We’ve all heard of the story of Jhaquiel Reagan, a teen who walked ten miles to get a job by a restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. You can read more about it here in a special Payscale post.
What’s the connection between having a job as a teenager and future career success?
It comes down to a few simple factors. First, having a job as a young person is a lesson in work values, which helps the individual become a more reliable employee later on. Second, having a job as a teen can develop the building blocks of a successful career because of the experience of serving others and working hard to achieve goals. Lastly, teens who work learn quickly how to balance their school and personal life with that of a career; an important ability that enables them to do this as an adult while raising a family.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you a teen, or the parent of a young person in search of a summer job? We want to hear from you about the challenges you face! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
More from PayScale