Students earn income from their smartphone as part-time jobs fall out of favour

Employment & Skills | Surveys | Technology

The number of young people with a traditional Saturday job appears to be falling compared to previous generations, as tech-savvy teenagers turn to online ventures to boost their income, according to research from LifeSkills created with Barclays.

Paper rounds, babysitting and doing odd jobs are falling out of favour with younger people, as they increasingly focus on their studies and look for highly flexible forms of work that fit around their education.

An estimated 670,000 students (aged 14-21) now regularly make money through online avenues, with buying and selling products online (such as clothes) becoming more popular than babysitting or dog walking as a way of making extra cash. These online ventures are collectively worth £11million a year.

Overall, the research found that just half (50%) of young people in education currently have a part-time job, compared to previous generations (68%). On average, young people between 14-21 years who have a part-time job work 8 hours a week and earn £62.50 a week – adding up to over £162m a week.

Motivations and challenges to working

Young people say the main reason they have a part-time job is because they want some financial independence, to gain experience to improve their CV and skills, along with the chance to meet new people.

However, the reasons cited for not working part-time are:

  • 44% don’t have a job because they get an allowance or income elsewhere such as pocket money from parents.
  • 44% say they need to focus on their school work rather than work.
  • 22% of young people without a job want to earn money but don’t know where to start.
  • 17% say there is a shortage of part-time employment opportunities in their area and 16% have applied for work but were unsuccessful.

The next generation could be missing out on vital skills as a result, with young people who do have part-time jobs ranking responsibility, communication and teamwork as the top three skills gained from this experience.

Online part-time jobs and the changing world of work

A desire for greater flexibility coupled with advanced digital skills is driving many young people to find new ways of making money through part-time activities.

While half (50%) of the previous generations said they worked in a shop or business when they were teens, in comparison just 37% of young people with jobs do the same today. Shop work is still the most popular type of job for young people followed by manual work, and online ventures are growing in popularity.

Of those earning money through an online job or project, over four in ten (44%) say they do this over traditional work because it provides them with more flexibility and 30% say their skills are better suited to earning money this way.

Meanwhile, a fifth (21%) say they choose to work online because there is a shortage of traditional jobs in their area, and a further 19% say it allows them to be more entrepreneurial.

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays said: “The nature of part-time jobs may have changed from thirty or forty years ago, but they remain a crucial way for young people to strike out on their own and gain the valuable skills and experience they will need for the rest of their working lives.

“It’s really encouraging to learn that so many young people are finding new routes, other than traditional part-time work, to boost their experience, skills development and earnings while being able to plan their hours around their studying. Parents, educators and businesses can also help them to kick-start their career skill set before they’ve even left school or college. Barclays LifeSkills can support with that, offering lesson plans and interactive tools on how to build key employability skills.”

Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Chair of the LifeSkills Advisory Council, said: “The humble Saturday job can be the start of great things. My part-time job at a hair salon taught me the skills that put me on the path to a successful career in business; problem solving, proactivity and hard work. Your first job is more than just a point for your CV, it’s a life lesson.

“Finding a job alongside school or college isn’t as simple as it was in the past, but the opportunities out there are evolving quickly. I recommend that every young person think about taking on work while still studying; whether it is cashing up in a shop or selling your creations online, the experience will have valuable things to teach you.”

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