Watch above: Why ‘McJobs’ are a good idea for teens during the summer. Peter Kim reports.
TORONTO – Did you spend your teenage summers flipping burgers or folding clothes? A new Canadian study suggests you may be better off because of it.
University of British Columbia researchers say that teens who work through the summer and part-time during school have a “competitive advantage” later in life. They learn about the working world, how to juggle their priorities and what they like and dislike on the job.
“With summer in full swing and kids sitting on the couch, parents are wondering whether to push them to find a job,” study co-author Dr. Marc-David Seidel said. Seidel is a professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
“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 the school term,” he explained.
Seidel’s research suggests that teens with part-time jobs move up into better careers because their early exposure to the workforce gave them a leg up. They end up with references, they learn how to job-hunt more successfully and they build their network early.
Parents who are hesitant to let their kids take on part-time work should take notice: the more hours their 15-year-old works – especially during the school year when time management is key – the better their career prospects were.
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The sweet spot appears to be about 33 hours of part-time work per week during the school year and 43 hours during the summer.
The research’s based on Statistics Canada data that covered the work history of over 246,000 15-year-olds across the country. A decade of their work experience was studied.
Seidel’s findings appear in the journal Research in the Sociology of Work. Read the full study here.