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Iceni Magazine | September 22, 2020

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Saturday Jobs: The Decline

saturday jobs

A Resolution Foundation report has revealed that just a quarter of 16 and 17-year-olds were in work between 2017 and 2019. Between 1997 and 1999, this figure was considerably higher at 48%.

A recent YouGov survey shows that 41% of 18 – 24-year-olds had a ‘Saturday job’ whilst studying at school or university. This figure was 59% for 25 – 49-year-olds, so what has happened over the past few decades?

Why are Saturday jobs so important?

Not only do Saturday jobs (weekend or evening jobs also) allow teenagers to earn themselves some money, but they also help them to gain important work experience. They can also help to instil a valuable work ethic in youngsters. The job application process in itself can offer a real insight into the world of work along with ways in which to answer and ask questions in job interviews, how to sell yourself in your cover letter, and how to dress for an interview. There are countless ways in which Saturday jobs can enhance lives.

37-year-old Victoria described her teenage jobs: “I started babysitting at the age of 15. As soon as my GCSEs were over, I secured a waitressing job in a local café. The extra money came in really handy. I chose to go to lots of gigs and without that money, I certainly couldn’t have had the experiences I did. I’m not quite sure how teenagers these days get by without earning their own money.”

Trainee teacher, Laura, explains why she neglected to get a job whilst doing her A levels: “I always knew that I wanted to go into teaching. Luckily, I didn’t need to earn money as my hobbies revolved around amateur dramatics, rather than going out shopping or drinking like others on my course.

“Getting a job wasn’t something that would have really helped me that much. In fact, not having a job allowed me to spend more time studying and revising. I got three As, so it must have worked! I did some work experience at a local school while in college, so the skills that were necessary for me to transfer to my teacher training course were gained that way. Giving up my Saturday every week wouldn’t have added anything to that. I’m glad I chose the path I did. No regrets.”



Fewer Jobs

With the undeniable decline of the high street largely due to changing shopping habits, there are fewer jobs in retail available. A large proportion of young people would find a Saturday job in a local shop, knowing that footfall would be higher on a weekend. However, this is no longer necessarily the case.

Different Priorities

Some people assert that young people these days have different priorities to those a couple of decades ago. It is certainly possible that some teenagers choose to focus on studying rather than earning money, making a concerted effort to do well in their exams. Although, as described above, there are fewer jobs, it could be the case that more teenagers are setting up their own small businesses. In fact, research suggests that there has been a 700% increase within the last decade.


With there being fewer opportunities, what are the alternatives for young people to earn some money? Babysitting, cleaning and dog walking are popular. As mentioned above, setting up a small enterprise could be an option. For those who don’t need to rely on a regular income, a summer job may be a viable alternative. 

For those who are not in need of money, a voluntary position could be a superb way to gain important skills. Charity shops are always in need of volunteers, but the possibilities are endless.


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