Dog Walking has emerged as the top casual job for teenagers to do in the modern age, as youngsters shun the typical ‘Saturday jobs’ which their parents once did.
According to new figures from financial services firm OneFamily, fewer than 1 in 4 teenagers (23 per cent) now have a regular job where they work the same day every week. Skip back just one generation to those teenagers’ parents and that same figure stood at not far from half of all youngsters (43 per cent) in the late 70s and early 80s.
It would seem that the new generation of teenagers in the UK would prefer to dip in to the ‘gig’ economy when they need to top up their pocket money, rather than committing themselves to regular work.
Following on from walking dogs, the other top five casual jobs which teenagers now do are cleaning, babysitting, washing cars and gardening.
For comparison, the top five jobs that teenagers’ parents did back in the day were:
2. Shop Work
3. Newspaper Round
4. Dog Walking
As you can see, shop work and newspaper rounds have now fallen out of the top five casual jobs completely. Obviously, it is no surprise that newspaper rounds are no longer a staple of the teenage work market due to the rise of the internet, but it could be a little surprising that working in a shop has fallen so much out of favour with today’s youth.
So what is behind the changing landscape of teenage working trends?
Well, from the youngsters themselves, some reasons given were that regular jobs are a distraction from school work commitments or that employers no longer wanted to fill their vacancies with teenagers.
Flexibility seems to be a major reason for the changing pattern, with almost half (45 per cent) saying that they needed to earn cash by finding jobs which fit around other commitments and more than one in three teenagers (37 per cent) believing that was the best way to earn the most money these days.
Yet another reason for altering patterns amongst the younger end of the workforce is the advance in technology. In the 70s and 80s, the parents of young people didn’t have access to apps and websites like e4s where it is now much easier to find ad hoc work rather than committing to set hours every week.
And, for the parents part, mums and dads seem to have mixed and often contradictory feelings about encouraging their children to go out and find a job.
2 in 5 parents said they would prefer their teenagers to concentrate on their education and exams results rather than finding a job.
However, 7 in 10 said that working themselves when they were younger had given them a good work ethic, 2 in 5 said it taught them how to manage their money and more than a third (35 per cent) admitted that holding down a part time job had improved their budgeting skills.
Echoing those sentiments when commenting on the new research, OneFamily’s managing director of children’s’ savings, Steve Ferrari, said: “We would encourage parents to see the benefits of their children working while studying. The lessons that part time employment, in all its forms, can instil – from a good work ethic to earning and budgeting – is invaluable, particularly during adolescent years.”
Then again, maybe some things haven’t changed much at all. Go back just one generation further than current teenager’s parents and Bob Dylan was already saying in 1964:
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly ageing. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changing…”
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