The death of the Saturday job

The death of the Saturday job

Teenagers are ditching old-fashioned Saturday jobs because of their fear of failure, a study suggests.

Instead of focusing on enhancing their extracurricular activities through part-time work, 16 and 17-year olds are solely focused on their studies, a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) revealed.

Over half of youngsters said they want “to concentrate on their studies” instead of taking up a Saturday job.

This means millions of young people are lacking the experience of the world of work that will help them find jobs in the future. Work is important. Studies are important. But one should not preclude the other. It’s about getting a good balance to give yourself the best chance. Employers and education providers need to work closer together to create these opportunities, and to highlight how a part-time job can aid young people in the future.”

Figures show that the number of part time jobs available across the entire economy for those between ages 16 to 64 has risen from 7.8 million in 2002 to 8.6 million in 2014. However, the part-time jobs that young people are likely to do, such as those in the retail, hotels and restaurant sectors, have fallen slightly from 2.43 million in 2002 to 2.40 million in 2014.

What employers want

A part-time job is something separate from studies, and offers a glimpse into the working world. You can list it on your CV and use it to prove you’ve got skills in organisation, communication, problem-solving and even management if you move up in your role. Having these gives employers more reason to pay attention to your application, and can make it more likely that you’ll be granted an interview. And we all remember the feeling you got from having your own money in your pocket.

The benefits of ‘earning and learning’ for young people are clear and well documented. Those who combine work with full-time education are more likely to get a job. Part-time jobs are also excellent ways for young people to gain experience of the working world, a factor which 66 per cent of employers say is important when recruiting.

What we did

Asking around the office we have all had Saturday jobs in the past as well as working during school and college holidays and all feel that the experience has been highly beneficial to our careers and lives in general.

Obviously, the availability of jobs is dependent on the area in which you live and being from a seaside town I spent my weekends waiting tables in a seafront cafe.

Paper rounds were done by most of us at one time and working in local shops and newsagents gave us an understanding of customer service and counting our change: no electronic tills in those days.

Washing up, waitressing and chambermaiding gave a good background in the service industries and having to be polite and respectful was a good life lesson to learn.

If you were lucky enough to get a job as a Saturday girl in one of the major High Street shops such as Woolworths, Boots or Marks and Spencer you were taught high standards and maybe even got a store discount. It always looked good on your CV and any prospective employer knew you were worth taking on.

I learned more about people, about how they are, what they want and how they can be, from the kitchens and the bar and the shop- floor, than I ever did from the classroom.

Did you have a Saturday job? Was it helpful in your career?