Thursday, August 22, 2013

Young People Just Don't Work Anymore

The Wall Street Journal. published a graphic yesterday which showed that a 17 year old kid today is less likely to have a summer job (or some kind of paycheck) than his 74 year old grandfather.

Check this out:
 Just 10 years ago, 50% of 17 year old boys were working in July.  Now there are barely 20%.  So what's at play here?  A couple of theories:

  • The economy is so bad that summer jobs reserved for high school kids are being taken by other age demographics
  • Business have slowly been weaning themselves off of summer help
  • Something is happening sociologically where little Johnny's parents don't expect him to get a summer job anymore
Given the slope of the decline, my guess would the be the latter hypothesis, but it is just that - a guess.

As one that manages people for a living, this is a scary graph.  The summer job used to be the place where one learned work ethic - it typically entailed a very non-glamorous role, made you get up in the morning instead of sleeping all day, and gave an appreciation for what hard work was all about.  That appreciation turned into perspective, as you were able to realize that getting an education and good job instead of doing the backbreaking drudgery of the roles summer jobs entailed was a smart idea.  Now, there will be many more kids entering the work force without that perspective of work ethic.

Only 20% of 17 year-old boys have summer jobs.  What in the world do they do with their day?  And what are they going to do after college?


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