Are Traditional Summer Jobs for Teens a Thing of the Past?

Summer is here and school is out but many teens will not be filling their days with jobs at the mall or the local ice cream stand-in fact, they might not be working at all. How has the summer job market changed for high school and college kids? Dr. Audrey Guskey, Duquesne University marketing professor, breaks it down like this:

  • Summer jobs - it's not your father and mother's summer things have changed over the last 40 years.
  • With hundreds of retail stores closing across the country this year, there are fewer job opportunities for teens this summer.Typically 25 percent of retail jobs are filled by high school and college students.
  • If you compare the percentage of teens working in the summer in 1980 with those working this summer, it has been cut in half. In the 1980's, teen employment was 80 percent. Now it is about 40 percent. This is a significant employment trend, which could affect the overall economy and the future job force-and not in a positive way.
  • In many cases, teens are not looking for summer work. More students are in school in the summer or focusing on extracurricular activities such as sports, club, and volunteering.
  • This trend is not good for teens' future careers.The lack of experience, especially in customer service, can be problematic for the teens and their potential employers. Teens need to build their resumes with work experience and volunteer activities.
  • Advice for teens looking for jobs-be creative. Start your own business. Being an entrepreneur is a great resume builder, has tremendous earning potential, and allows you to use your creative energy while developing amazing skills.
  • There are still the traditional babysitting, lifeguarding, cutting grass jobs that may not give you big paychecks, but help students develop customer service and business skills.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

It's time for bigger goals
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