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The 2004 Job Outlook for Teens - This rite of passage is passing teens by.


© 2004 All rights reserved The Forward Group received more than 3,000 responses to a poll conducted in March 2004 of why and where teens would like to work in 2004.

Asked, “Why do you want a job?” teens were given the following five answers to choose from and responded accordingly;

1. 30% need money to help family
2. 23% to get work experience
3. 22% need money for college
4. 14% to buy fun stuff
5. 11% to keep busy

Asked, “What kind of work do you want?” teens were given the following six answers to choose from and responded accordingly;

1. 44% to work in a retail store
2. 23% to work in a fast food place or restaurant
3. 17% to work in an office
4. 10% to work outdoors
5. 5% to work in health services
6. 1% to work from home

Asked, “At What Company Would You Like to Work?” only 5% of teens named a specific company and no company was named more than 20 times. Typical responses to this question were, “any company”, “I don't care”, and “it doesn't matter”.

This clearly demonstrates a lack of any real “employment” branding amongst teens. It's ironic given that many retail chains, fast food places and restaurants market their products and services so aggressively to teens.

By Renee Ward, Publisher
© 2004 All rights reserved

Teens want to work. This is clearly evident by the millions of ambitious teens with a broad range of interests, self-motivation and drive that visit in search of landing a full or part time job.

Our March 2004 poll* reveals that 52% of teens feel their income is a necessity rather than a luxury. And, 23% feel that work experience early in life will help prepare them for the future.

Teens are hardest hit by the U.S. jobless economic recovery and other employment factors.

In June 2003, 40.9% of teens 16-19 were jobless representing the lowest level of employment in 55 years! 2004 should be better, but not by much.

There will be some of the traditional jobs available for teens in 2004, however, teens will be competing with older job seekers for those jobs because older workers are being courted by businesses to remain in the labor force.

Many businesses tell us they have been dismayed by teen workers.

They say teens, “just want a paycheck and are not really willing to work.” They add that teens, “have bad attitudes and are unreliable.”

Businesses lament that teens feel they are “entitled” to a job and often don't realize that they have to prepare themselves for the work place and understand the basic needs of business. As a result, many of the potential businesses with whom teens seek employment, will not proactively extend themselves to teen job seekers.

There are more teens than openings, so these businesses, in general, can sit back and wait for applicants to come knocking on their doors.

Opportunities are greatest for 18-19 year old teens that are “A” students with great interpersonal skills and networking know-how. While our poll shows that 44% of teens want to work in a retail store, most national retailers will not even consider teens under 18. In 2000, many of them did.

Teens will have to be assertive to secure a job in 2004. Teens must demonstrate that they are willing to work, have positive attitudes, are reliable and understand the needs of the business. To better prepare, teens should review our Top Ten Tips to Land a Job.

Teens should also consider non-paying volunteer positions to gain work experience.

And, teens should consider starting their own businesses this year to earn the money they need.

Here are 10 ideas on businesses that teens could start.

  1. House-sitting/cleaning
  2. Pet-sitting, walking, washing
  3. Lawn Care
  4. Personal assistant
  5. Tutoring
  6. Car wash/detailing
  7. Assembling products
  8. Arts and crafts sales
  9. Garage sale coordinator
  10. Party/Event planner