REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
Teenagers and Part-Time Jobs: Benefits, Drawbacks and Tips
Adolescence is that difficult period of time when carefree children transition to responsible adults… we hope. That is the goal, after all, for teens to develop into mature, productive, responsible members of the community. One method for assisting this transition is obtaining part-time employment. A job can help teenagers better develop their identities, obtain increased autonomy, achieve new accomplishments, develop work experience, and become more independent from their parents.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 50 percent of American teenagers hold informal jobs, such as babysitting or yard work, by age 12. Boys tend to begin their jobs at younger ages and work more hours than girls. By age 15, nearly two-thirds of American teens have had some kind of employment. By the time teens graduate from high school, 80% will have held a part-time job at some time during the school year.
The average high school student works 20 hours per week, and about 10% work full time (35 hours or more).
There are many obstacles to teens obtaining employment. Finding reliable transportation is critical, and that can be difficult if the job is not close by and the teen’s parent(s) work. Fighting stereotypes that employers have about adolescents, such as poor attitudes or lack of skills, can be challenging. In this particular economy, there aren’t very many job opportunities for teens. Teens want to work for a variety of reasons, but more than half report their involvement in work is motivated by the desire to buy things.
Typically, teens spend their money on car expenses, recreational expenses, clothing, educational expenses, saving for college, and helping their families with living expenses (e.g., rent, groceries). Researchers have studied and debated the benefits and drawbacks of teens and part-time jobs for more than 2 decades. Many researchers, including those on government panels like the National Commission on Youth, praise part-time work and say it contributes to the transition from youth to adulthood. Other studies have found significant negative consequences to students working over 20 hours a week. We will take a close look at both. Benefits of Teens Holding a Part-Time Job
There are many benefits to adolescents obtaining employment, including: Obtain valuable work experiences, which are excellent for a resume. Learn how to effectively manage finances. Even if the teen is simply using their earnings to pay for their own expenses, they will learn to budget between clothes, movies, and car expenses. May provide networking possibilities and set a child on a rewarding lifetime career path. Provide constructive use of free time. An after-school job can also provide adult supervision, especially if you work longer hours than those in a typical school day. Employment gives teens less time to engage in risky behaviors. Learn time management skills.
Form good work habits.
Gain useful, marketable skills such as improving their communication, learning how to handle people, developing interview skills and filling out job applications. Instill new confidence, sense of responsibility and independence. Drawbacks of Teens Holding a Part-Time Job
There are also negative consequences of teen employment that may outweigh the positive benefits, such as: Less time for homework. Working students may not have or make the time to complete their work. Higher rates of absenteeism and less school involvement. Employment may place constraints on the student’s study and sleep time. Fatigue or lack of preparation for the day’s academic activities may discourage the working teen from going to school and a job may take the place of extracurricular activities. Lower grades in school. Students who work more than 20 hours a week have grade point averages that are lower than other students who work 10 or less hours a week. More likely to use drugs and alcohol. Research suggests that substance abuse is higher for students who work 20 or more hours per week. Development of negative views of work itself. Early entry into a negative or harsh work environment may encourage negative views of work.
This would depend greatly on the maturity level of the teenager and the type of job obtained. Increased stress. Balancing work and school can prove to be too much for any student. Research seems to suggest that students that work 10 hours or less a week gain the benefits of employment, while students that work over 20 hours a week suffer the negative consequences of work mentioned above. Other factors that affect how students handle employment and school life include the intensity and difficulty of the work done. Summer Employment
Summer employment is an excellent alternative, as it does not interfere with schooling and provides teens with a constructive use of their free time. It allows adolescents to garner all the benefits of employment without overtaxing their busy school schedules. Teens should begin looking for summer employment during Spring Break. Possible jobs for teens are: landscaping, delivering newspapers, babysitting, retail stores (such as grocery stores or clothing stores), movie theaters, working at a theme park, being a camp counselor, lifeguarding at a pool, and dog walking. April 2, 2010 by middleearthnj
Work careers begin after the completion of formal schooling. This is a fundamental assumption of life course research, which identifies “the school to work transition” as one of the most critical stages of the early life course. Yet the reality is that most students are also workers. A third or more of high school students are currently employed, as are the majority of college students (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005a). The paucity of research on the overlap of student and worker roles and on the occupational structure of teenage workers is almost certainly due to the assumption that most students work in part-time jobs that are unrelated to post-schooling work careers. Indeed, one of the major “problems” of the first Occupational Change in a Generation Survey (the data source for Blau and Duncan, 1967) was that the measurement of “first job” may have conflated student employment and post-student employment (Duncan, Featherman, & Duncan, 1972: 210–224).
1 However, the high level of labor force participation among students, and the fact that teenagers comprise four percent of the American workforce, suggest the need for more research on the prevalence of work and the structure of employment among adolescents prior to the completion of schooling. In this study, we explore patterns of social stratification of teenage workers. Prior research on teenage employment has focused almost exclusively on the impact of work on educational outcomes, including grades and dropping out. The primary theoretical and policy issue is the hypothesis that the roles of worker and student are incompatible, or at least incompatible with educational success (Greenberger & Steinberg, 1986). Yet most studies have concluded that there is little observable harm if students work a moderate number of hours per week; indeed, students who work less than 15 h/week generally have better educational outcomes than students who do not work at all (Carr, Wright, & Brody, 1996; McNeil, 1997; Mortimer & Finch, 1986). Students who work longer hours, especially more than 20 or 25 h/week, do have lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school (D’Amico, 1984), however, it is unclear whether high intensity work is a cause, a consequence, or just a correlate of poorer educational outcomes.
The hypothesized causal impact of teenage employment on educational outcomes hinges, in large part, on the selectivity of students into employment and different types of jobs. Before addressing this question, we describe the occupational structure of teenage employment and its relationship to the adult labor market. With in the teenage labor market structure, we attempt to identify the dimensions of occupational status and preferable job characteristics. Then we address the question of selectivity of students to jobs within the classic analytical framework of social stratification research. Specifically, we ask if family background and ascriptive characteristics, such as gender, and race and ethnicity, influence teenage employment and the attainment of higher status jobs. Although we refer to teenage employment in general, our empirical focus is on the employment patterns held by several cohorts of high school seniors in a West Coast metropolitan area.
Although this is a limited geographical and temporal sample, the patterns reported here are likely to be representative of teenagers more broadly. We find that there is a clear structure between the social backgrounds of students and the jobs they hold. Advantages of family origins and school achievement are positively associated with paid employment, and advantaged students are especially more likely to hold “good jobs” outside of prototypical teenage concentration in the fast food sector and related service sector jobs. 2. Why do teenagers work?
Although there are many reasons why people work, economic necessity ranks near the top of the list. Most high school students, however, live as dependents in parental households, and very few teenagers have to work to provide their food and shelter. Indeed, state laws “protect” adolescents from becoming regular workers by limiting the hours and nature of paid employment. The one gray area is family employment, especially when families run small businesses. Families that run small businesses generally depend on the unpaid labor of all family members, including school age children and adolescents, as part of a strategy of economic survival. If teenagers are not working to support their families, the most plausible alternative interpretation is that most students work to support their consumption and related lifestyle activities, such as saving for clothing, a car, or other “extras” beyond their family’s economic resources or willingness to provide.
Another potential explanation is that students work in order to invest in their future. Students may seek jobs that provide opportunities for achievement, exposure to possible career choices, or to develop ties with persons who could serve as mentors. These explanations are not mutually exclusive, and many teenagers may be motivated by both objectives. Regardless of the motivations of students, there must be a job market in which employers seek to, or are at least willing to, hire teenagers. Many teenagers may be working in part-time jobs in the general labor market where there is an insufficient supply of relatively cheap and flexible workers. In these jobs, teenagers can be considered as supplemental workers for adults who are the predominate workforce.
For example, teenagers often work as receptionists in offices and as cashiers in grocery stores, but teenagers comprise only a small minority of workers in these positions. There may also be niches of teenage jobs where adolescents comprise a significant share of all workers in an occupation or industry. For example, teenage workers appear to be the mainstay of fast food establishments. The proportional representation of teenage workers (ages 16–19) in the major occupational categories, and their relative share of all workers (employed persons age 16 and above) in each occupation, is presented in Table 1 based on data from the 2005 Current Population Survey. These data do not differentiate teenagers by their enrollment status.