(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) -- If you want your teenage son or daughter to have a competitive advantage in the workplace years from now, tell them to get off the couch and get a summer job.
A new UBC Sauder School of Business study finds that teens who work at summer or evening jobs gain early knowledge of the working world and how to manage in it, and as a result are more likely to find good employment and earn more money in the future.
"Parents may think that their kids could do better than a job at the local fast food joint. But our study shows even flipping burgers has value -- particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school term,” says Sauder professor Marc-David L. Seidel, who co-authored the study.
Using data from the Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey, the researchers examined the work history of 246,661 Canadian teenagers over a 10-year period, beginning at age 15 and ending at 25 in 2009.
The researchers found teens in part-time jobs advance to better-suited careers because the early workplace exposure helps them in numerous ways, including acquiring better references and learning to job-hunt more successfully.
“Adolescent labor has been stigmatized as exploitative with many parents opting to put their kids in summer camp rather than summer jobs," says Seidel. "However, our research shows that working can offer educational and developmental opportunities that prepare adolescents for the real world."
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