On the Topic of Student Employment


Aiden McCullar, Staff Reporter

Since November 16, 2022, according to Zippa.com just under 30% of high schoolers in California are employed. This statistic represents over a staggering 510,900 people (about half the population of Montana in comparison); Honest workers just trying to build up savings, support their families or even just buy the newest God of war title. However, concerningly, this percentage of working highschoolers has fallen from the 77 % That highschooler employment sat comfortably at during the year 2000. Within this article dear readers, we will be taking a quick dive into the why this is happening, as well as if it is even worth it to hold a job as a high schooler, displaying statistics, interviews and my own firsthand experiences to answer this question!

When looking at the topic of why a much smaller percentage of minor’s work, there are a few major factors that have dragged the percentage down over the twenty-two years since 2000, Minimum wage compared to inflation between the years, Students just not wanting to work, and a combination of Family/physical issues that make work either undesirable or impossible.

Comparing the Federal minimum wage between the year 2000 and now, it is plain to see that yes, Minimum wage has had a decent increase, from $5.25 an hour to $7.25 an hour! However, inflation has had a much more staggering jump with a cumulative increase of 73.1% over the twenty-two years. If we factor in the current inflation with the old minimum wage, people used to make a minimum of $9.95 in today’s currency. Simply enough, people work for money, and with facts like these brought up daily to those in the job market, it is an exceptionally good demotivator from trying to find employment.

However, the primary reason so many highschoolers don’t work comes down to the simple fact that not everyone is able to, or even wants to hold a job. It could be due to prioritizing studies over work. it could be because you have chores to do or are forced to watch over some family member. It could be due to physical or mental disability. A fact that everyone, from family members to labor-hungry employers must learn, is that not everyone is willing or able to work, it just might not be time yet.

Coming from my own experiences, however, I must say, deciding whether working or not getting a job is for you. To those who don’t work well under stress, or those who don’t really enjoy commitment, I’d personally recommend holding off, get to a place where you’re ready to commit and make it through your day in a way that your gain of money outweighs the mental tax of working. However, for those who have the baseline want to commit to something, make good enough money and won’t be too physically or mentally taxed by situations where you’ll be under pressure to succeed, getting a job is for you.

Beware though, something to keep in mind: when choosing which job to look to, remember most employers don’t have your best interests at heart, work for your benefit, not theirs. If choosing a job with a slightly higher earning, but it’s way more stressful, when compared to a lower earning job that doesn’t want to make you break your fingers punching a wall, the second choice is far better. Keep all these facts in mind and you’ll probably do just fine out there!