In the U.S. most jobs require previous experience, however, in order to get that experience, you need a job. Every year jobs become harder to get because of the many recessions we’ve had. This means teens in America are having an even harder time getting a job when there is also an adult candidate to compete against.
According to CBS News, “In 1986, 57 percent of Americans ages 16-19 were employed. The percentage stayed over 50 percent until 2002 when it began to drop. By last July, only 36 percent were working.”
At Loy Norrix there are students who work jobs both during the summer and during the school year. However, there are many more that are trying to get a job and having a hard time finding one because of their age and lack of experience.
“I’ve been looking for a job since freshmen year, and I’ve seen people older than me get hired just because of their age. My parents have told me that having a job would help me learn life skills and I would really like one, but [ jobs] are so hard to get at my age,” said junior Paula Zuniga.
There is a struggle for high school students to get a job because there are certain age restrictions that limit the amount of physical work a student can do and hours that a students can work. For example, at a grocery store, students under 18 can stock shelves and bag groceries, but the federal law doesn’t allow them to operate a cardboard-box compactor, so the employer would have to find another person to do that job.
Lowering the minimum wage for teens would help more teens to get a job. It would encourage the employer to hire someone at a younger age. The employer can ignore the fact that the teen has restrictions and less experience because they won’t have to pay them as much as an older, more experienced worker.
Even with lower wages, working as a student in high school has many benefits. Not only does it give students work experience that’ll help them get higher paying jobs in the future, but it also shows them how to be on time and be professional in a work environment with the risk of potentially losing their job.
“[Working] showed me that jobs aren’t all fun and games and jobs should be taken seriously. Working has really taught me how to be responsible and made me learn how to balance life,” said sophomore Skylar Clay. “Sometimes working can be very hard; however, I would recommend that the teens who are ready for a job and can handle the pressure should get one.”
Many students today don’t get the benefits of having a job because when an employer is hiring and has the option of hiring a teenager or an adult for the same wage, an employer would rather pick the older, more experienced worker, which leaves teens struggling to find a job. Unemployed teens struggling to get a job are often willing to work for less money just to have a job and gain more experience.
“It can be really hard for students in high school to get a job. I don’t necessarily want to make less money, but if that means that I have a higher chance of getting a job that’s fine with me.” Zuniga continued, “It’s better for students to have a job that pays less than no job at all.”