Many of the high school students who worked part-time jobs this summer have given up their jobs now that school has started. However, for college students, the decision to acquire a job while on campus and to keep working throughout the school year is a tough decision. I personally worked 24 hours/week when I was in college. It never prevented me from taking a full-load academically, kept me from finishing my homework, or had a negative effect on my GPA.
Unfortunately, in today’s America, we shield kids from work. We teach them that playing sports all year long, going to the mall, and/or having an active social life are more important than learning how to work. None of those activities are wrong, but they also need to be supplemented by work of some kind. It is an essential step towards maturity that too many kids miss.
I believe that to establish a solid work ethic every child should begin working as soon as possible. When I was 10 years old I had a paper route, babysat, mowed lawns, and shoveled snow. Those jobs continued for six years until I turned 16 and could get a work permit, where I then entered the “official” work world of business employers and paychecks.
Research shows that kids who know how to get and perform a job are more grounded, self-confident and marketable than kids who’ve been sheltered from the business world. Kids who have worked a few jobs by the time they graduate from college are much more likely to be hired ahead of the graduates who haven’t.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2017 survey, nearly 91% of employers said they prefer candidates with work experience and only 5% said that work experience was not a factor when hiring new graduates. Employers want graduates who get early practice in professional skills such as time management, communication, and attention to detail.
Students who work while they are in high school and college gain relevant experience that many employers are looking for post-graduation. More than half of employment recruiters report that graduates with no previous work experience will most likely not make it through the selection process and have little or no chance of securing a job offer.
Working While in College Statistics
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 79 percent of undergraduates in 2007-2008 worked while they were enrolled in college. Those (primarily) part-time wages definitely helped reduce the amount of debt they had to incur. But what’s also important to consider are the non-monetary benefits of work that didn’t show up in a bank account.
Non-financial benefits of working in college:
#1—Work provides valuable job experience.
#2—Work teaches you time management skills.
#3—Work provides opportunities that can help improve your grades.
#4—Work can provide employee benefits.
#5—Work can actually make attending college more rewarding because of the social connections you make with co-workers.
According to a survey from Bentley University ( a private business school in Waltham, Massachusetts), nearly three-quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials — even those with college degrees — aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate “work ethic.” Companies say current candidates lack motivation, interpersonal skills, appearance, punctuality and flexibility.
Many adults, looking down the barrel of a 40+ year work-life, feel they are doing their children a favor by not asking them to work as teens and young adults. “They should have fun during those years! They have their whole adult life to work.” But if not working now prevents them from having the adult career they want later, how well did that direction serve them?