Posted on 5th August 2012
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has recently announced that there has been a drastic drop in the number of teenagers with Saturday jobs. In the past 15 years the percentage of students with part time jobs has plummeted from 40% (435,000) to 20% (260,000).
A number of reasons have been cited, including the increasing pressure on students to do well in exams, and a reduction in the number of jobs available due to the recession. Another factor is how hard it is to make contacts that can lead to work, and the fact that many Saturday jobs are attained through word of mouth, rather than a formal application procedure with widely distributed job adverts.
Valerie Todd, a commissioner at the UKCES, has said: “There’s more emphasis on doing well at school, young people are finding less time to do what they would have done a few years ago, whether that’s a paper round or working in the local shop.” She also highlights market developments that have had a big impact: “I think it’s also the changing structure of the labour market. Retail is still a big employer, but a lot more of it is being done online. As a consequence we need to think about how we get young people the work experience they need.”
In today’s economic climate, employers really want to see work experience on applicants’ CVs to ensure that new employees have the skills for the job, but also to see that applicants have a proven passion for working. The graduate jobs market is now so crowded with people leaving universities with good degrees that you need to find ways to stand out, and having work experience on your CV will really help. But Saturday jobs are also beneficial in other ways, as they can be sociable, teach you new skills and boost your bank balance so that you are able to have greater financial independence and control from a young age. It is extremely satisfying to work hard and then be paid for your efforts at the end of the day.
It is very hard for schools to increase the amount of work experience available to their students, so the onus really is on students themselves to seek out opportunities and find part time jobs. One of the best things to do is simply to visit shops, cafes, and other local businesses and ask whether they have any vacancies. Take a few copies of your CV, make yourself look presentable and get asking! Working for even just a few hours a week will increase your self esteem, skills and of course improve the state of your bank balance as well!