Fewer Teens Seek Summer Jobs

With more teens focusing on activities rather than work, what can retailers do to cope?

July 12, 2019

NEW YORK—Fewer teens are working at fast-food restaurants, summer camps, pools and retail stores, Marketing Insider reports. Instead, the high schoolers are turning their attention to athletics, community service and studies during the summer months, according to a new CNBC report.

Two decades ago, 3 in 5 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 worked or were looking for a summer job. Last year, 2 in 5 were doing the same. And those who are working are requesting time off to pursue academics, athletics or volunteer opportunities.

Here are some ways retailers can address the teen labor shortage.

Look to older adults. More adults age 65 and older are staying in the workforce for a variety of reasons. This summer, McDonald’s worked with AARP to staff 250,000 seasonal openings that previously would have been filled by teenagers.

Highlight on-the-job learning. Teens need to be shown what skills they’ll learn at work. When recruiting, focus on sharing what they will learn and how those skills will benefit them in school and life.

Show the advancement opportunities. Many teens don’t want entry-level positions in dead-end jobs. Today’s teenagers want to see a clear path to advancement in the company and steps to take along the way.