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Want Your Child to Do Well When They Grow Up? – Make Them Get a Job

New research reveals that teenagers with a summer or evening job have better prospects

United Kingdom, 8 July 2014 – A new study from Emerald Group Publishing, global academic publisher, and UBC Sauder School of Business revealed teenagers who work summer or evening jobs are more able to find higher paying and fulfilling jobs as adults.

The study, ‘Beneficial “Child Labor”: The Impact of Adolescent Work on Future Professional Outcomes’, in Research in the Sociology of Work found that teenagers in part-time jobs progress to better-suited careers the more they work. A job also equips them to discover what they do or do not want from a career, it helps them to acquire better references and teaches them to job hunt.

Associate Professor Marc-David L. Seidel, Sauder School of Business, who co-authored the study, said: “Adolescent labour has been stigmatized as exploitative with many parents opting to put their kids in after school activities or groups rather than encouraging them to get a job. However, our research shows that working can offer educational and developmental opportunities that prepare adolescents for the real world.”

The research study took place over a ten year period, studying Canadian teens and showed benefits arose from working up to as much as 33 hours per week during the school year or 43 hours during summer. Those adolescents who studied and worked at the same time secured higher income jobs in the future than their counterparts. They likely learned better time management skills.
They also achieved better references and job hunted more successfully – ultimately establishing wider career networks.

“With summer in full swing and kids sitting on the sofa, parents are wondering whether to push them to find a job. Parents may think that their kids could do better than a job at the local fast food restaurant. But our study shows that serving burgers still has value – particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school term.”

The study, ‘Beneficial “Child Labor”: The Impact of Adolescent Work on Future Professional Outcomes’ appears in the latest edition of the journal Research in the Sociology of Work. It was co-authored with Sauder Ph.D. student Marjan Houshmand and Sauder Commerce Scholar Alum Dennis G. Ma.

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