Culture Snapshot: Teens Don’t Want to Work and don’t gain important life lessons and experience as a result

Culture Snapshot: Teens Don’t Want to Work and don’t gain important life lessons and experience as a result – 

In recent years, the state of the economy has made the prospect of teens holding part-time jobs much more difficult.

Competition for jobs traditionally held by teenagers from older, more experienced workers have squeezed them out of the workforce. The numbers of working teenagers has plunged over the past decade from 44 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2011. And teen unemployment remains strikingly high at more than 20% (over 3 times the general unemployment rate of 6.3%).

But that’s not the entire story. A growing number of American teens don’t want to work. A report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas that analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding teen summer jobs, found that teens dropping out of the workforce represents only a small portion of those not working. Most teens are simply not choosing to work and the number of kids in this group has steadily increased.

Why? While there is little hard evidence to draw from regarding the reasons teens don’t want to work, it’s likely that some teens live overly busy lives already. Adding a part-time job only adds to the problem. Some teens, discouraged by the scarcity of jobs give up the desire to work. For others, a growing trend of parents who don’t want kids to work is likely a factor.

Whatever the reasons, teens that work formal part-time jobs reap real life lessons and experience that prepare them for adulthood. And kids who don’t work miss out on these benefits:

– Learning the dignity of work and of earning a paycheck
– Learning the value of contributing to the success of an organization
– Discovering the value of receiving a regular paycheck
– Learning discipline, responsibility, and time management
– Learning that their time and effort are valuable
– Learning important social and work skills
– Mastering skills and contributing builds confidence
– Learning how to manage money
– Those who work receive higher earnings in adult life
– Gaining experience in the real world of work

As kids journey through the adolescent years, parents should give adequate thought to how part-time teen employment can fit into an overall strategy for helping them become independent and responsible adults.