It has been revealed by the BBC that the number of child employment permits issued by councils has fallen by more than twenty percent since 2012. While a Saturday job is often thought of as a rite of passage for children and teenagers, it seems the demand from under 16s has dropped significantly in the last five years. So, what are the reasons behind this decline and how is it affecting teenagers and businesses in the UK?
Many have attributed the fall in teenage workers to the increased demands from schools and parents to focus their time and attention on school work. The emphasis on gaining good GCSE grades has only intensified over recent years, which could explain the decreased numbers of school children with weekend jobs. Another reason for reduced numbers of permits for under 16s could be the decline of the paper round, as fewer local papers are being published and delivered to the door.
When it comes to focusing on schoolwork, it takes priority over part-time jobs, however, not everyone agrees that exams and school studies should be children and parents’ primary concern. Properly regulated part-time work can be a great way of helping young people learn essential life skills for their working lives, such as taking on responsibility, time-management, confidence in speaking to customers and handling money. It can also be an important way of opening the door to opportunities from an early age, as well as providing essential work experience for more senior roles later on in life.
It’s not just teenagers who can benefit from Saturday jobs however, small businesses can also benefit from hiring under 16s. While the obvious attraction is being able to offer a cheaper wage and fewer benefits, younger people can bring a host of other qualities to the table for businesses too. Young, inexperienced workers are easy to train when they haven’t picked up bad habits from previous roles. This so-called “Generation Z” can also bring a whole new perspective to your industry, along with a range of new ideas for approaching old problems.
Of course, there are some downsides to hiring young people too, such as a lack of experience and having to be patient while they inevitably make mistakes while learning. Hiring school children can also have some negative implications on your business’ rota or schedule, as students will unavoidably require flexible working hours. Events such as exams and trips can often get in the way, meaning younger workers may ask for shift changes more often than you would like.
DYWAJ – Do You Want A Job? encourages young people to upload their CVs to their online database (www.dywaj.co.uk), enabling employers to find the perfect candidates for their job openings. With the right balance between studies and work, properly regulated part-time roles for young people can allow both employees and businesses to benefit.