I read an “ah-ha” statistic the other day from one of my favorite experts on youth leadership, Tim Elmore. He states that Generation Z is the most educated generation of all times but they lack overall experience Here is an interesting statistic he reported, 53% of Baby Boomers had a job when they were in high school, 48% of Gen Xers had jobs when they were teenagers, 30% of the Millennials had previous work experience in high school but only 19% of Generation Z ages 15-18 has had a part time job, this is 1 in every 5 teenagers. One may think this is just the changing of our world and this is not a problem in the sense that kids absolutely have to have a job. The problem lies in that some of these kids are going into the workforce at 22 years old and are not having any type of work experience at all or the skill set on how to sustain a job . Many parents are bypassing asking or requiring their teenagers to get a job and instead are having them focus on their academics or extracurricular activities. There is a rise in major decisions by parents to just “give” their children money without incentives like doing chores or other responsibilities. We are hearing more parents say, “Your school is your full time job.” In a world now where kids are overextended and lead busy lifestyles, it also becomes difficult to have time for a job or even find one that will work around their busy schedules.Part time jobs are just as much on learning how to work, as much as learning the value of money. It becomes a challenge when kids have no work experience until the age of 22 and they enter the workforce as an adult. Sometimes the habits are formed that they are entitled to receive money without working for it. Something good happens when your exchange your talent, time, energy for a paycheck. It teaches good stewardship of money and not just an entitlement of money being given to you. Having no experience in the workforce may cause a problem of artificial maturity amongst this generation. We are seeing maturity in the sense of education and knowledge, but a deficit of maturity in ability to problem solve, establishing relationships and work ethic due to not having experience in a job.
So what do we do with this generation who may not have the time to work a part time job or the parents who are wanting them to focus on school and activities rather than work? Here are some other alternatives to get that work experience under their belt during the busy teenage years .
- Summer or Holiday Time Jobs- many kids have summers and long holiday breaks where they can get a short term job. Holiday season is a time that many businesses hire extra employees and these jobs can be temporary. Also great summer jobs that are attractive to this generation are lifeguards, retail, green houses, farm hands, local recreational organizations such as YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, health and fitness studios.
- School/ Extracurricular Activity Job Opportunities- Several schools have programs for office and administrative assistants in their central offices. Some of these positions do offer compensation. Also, check with your child’s extra curricular activity. In my business, owner of local dance studios, I have a student assistant training program that works around students activity schedules. They start at a volunteer level and have the opportunity to be paid employees when reaching their high school year. Many of the school extracurricular activities may also have these opportunities.
- Odd Jobs- In our digital, social, mobile busy world there are more job opportunities than ever. These jobs can be one and done jobs such as pet walker, babysitter, housecleaner, drivers for elderly, ect. Also there are some legitimate online jobs that are conducive to teenagers where they can earn extra money and gain valuable work experience such as writing, tutoring and social postings for companies. It is our job as leaders of this next generation to equip them with the necessary tools to succeed. It is so optimistic knowing that these Gen Zers are trending to be the most educated and purposeful generation of all time. Now we need to equip them to be able to hold a job in the workforce so they can make a living. Tracey Wozny/ Executive Director and Founder Taking Shape