Last summer, teen unemployment rates rose to staggering new heights often falling in the 20 to 30% range. That’s double the rate of your adult counterparts, triple in some regions. (Remember, those rates are looking at teens who are seeking employment or are recently jobless. Kids who aren’t looking for jobs are not included.) As a matter of fact, even in better economies, teen unemployment rises above adult unemployment despite teens’ willingness to accept lower wages, sporadic hours, and oftentimes more menial labor. It goes to question, why are teens suffering from higher unemployment and what can you do to change that?
With the larger than normal adult unemployment rates, many employers prefer an adult to a teen when considering a new hire. Unfortunately teen employees-to-be must overcome the reputation left by previous employees, aged 16 – 19, employees who were viewed as less responsible and less reliable than their adult counterparts. That stinks. Plain and simple, but the world of employment has been burned by the knee-jerk resignations (teens who quit without the customary two-week notification and teens who just stop showing up for their shifts with no notification at all), failure to remember their work hours, social networking on the job (whether that’s texting, talking with co-workers until it affects the workload, or socializing with friends that happen to stop by), and other behaviors that affect the workplace in a negative manner.
I know, adults have been guilty of similar behaviors and it’s not fair that all teens get the bad rap for it. That’s true. I’ve known super-responsible teens with stellar work ethics and they still don’t get an interview because the employer prefers an adult or someone with more “experience.” If you’re a teen, experience is pretty minimal if existent at all. I’ve also worked alongside teens who taught me a thing or two about proficiency on the job, so there is much to be said for the younger employee.
So what can you do? How can you change the way employers view teen applications? What can you do as a Christian to change the negatives associated with teen employment?
Some words to think on…