Teens Are Having a Hard Time Getting Summer Jobs

And, since working in the summer can predict future job prospects, that matters. 
Library of Congress

In light of a report from Bloomberg yesterday that drew attention to the remarkably generous wages picked up by the tech industry’s young summer interns—their monthly salaries can exceed the 2012 average for U.S. households by nearly $2,000—it’d be easy to make the mistake of thinking that the youth these days have it easy.

But today, Erin McCarthy of the Wall Street Journal posted about a discouraging report put out by Challenger, Gray & Christmas on teens’ summer employment: Hires of 16- to 19-year-olds in May and June dropped 12 percent in comparison to last year. The teen unemployment rate has been in decline in the past year, but this, according to the report, has mainly to do with teens who have dropped out of the job search in favor of less aggravating pursuits, like volunteer work, sports, and, presumably, hanging out.


 Summer Hires in Decline

WSJ.com

This may not seem problematic, but recent research indicates that the summer unemployed might be losing ground to their working peers. A study out of the University of British Columbia published in the most recent issue of Research in the Sociology of Work found that teens who work evenings or summers are more likely to find better jobs and earn more money down the line.

The reason summer jobs can predict future success is that they allow teens to get acquainted with the working world and to expand their networks. Interestingly, it barely matters what the job consists of. Says UBC professor Marc-David Seidel, a co-author of the study, “Even flipping burgers has value—particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school."

 
Presented by

Joe Pinsker is an assistant editor at The Atlantic. He has written for Rolling StoneForbes, and Salon.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Business

Just In