Jan 01, 2013

Focusing on Youth: Temporary Employment and Safeguards

Holiday Bring Increase in Temporary Employment

For many retailers, the holiday shopping season is a “make or break” period that can define their bottom lines for the entire year. Temporary and part-time employment spikes as retailers and other businesses increase staffing to accommodate their seasonal increase in business.

Many students experience an increase both in their free time and their need for extra cash around the holidays.  As many retailers have an increased need for seasonal/ part-time help at that same time, many employers will fill their seasonal and/or part-time positions with young workers. It is often a good fit for both parties. 

WHD Safeguards the Young / Minor employee

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) aims to promote and enforce compliance with labor standards, particularly as it relates to child labor.  Youths aged 14 and 15 can be employed outside of school hours in a variety of non-manufacturing and non-hazardous jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions. Any work not specifically permitted, as per the DOL’s child labor regulations, is prohibited.  Those aged 16 or 17 can be employed for an unlimited range of hours in any occupation except for those deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

Youth Employment 2012: Facts and Figures

According to the Bureau of Labor Standards, the youth labor force (16 to 24 year olds working or actively looking for jobs) had employment reaching 19.5 million in July 2012.  The labor force participation rate for all youth in July 2012 was at 60.5%

Prospects Bleak for Recent College Grads

College graduates, despite an improving economy and job market, have an uphill climb towards finding employment post-graduation.  According to the Economics Policy Institute, almost 50% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.  And per a July 2012 Wall Street Journal Article, young graduates face the bleakest odds amongst all job seekers with a real unemployment  rate around 17%.

However, Forbes Magazine, along with several career consultants, encourage collage students to target temporary employment as an avenue for a career.  With temporary jobs increasing for nine consecutive quarters, it is a legitimate strategy to pursue.  Even hotspots for young workers, such as Silicon Valley, project employment growth to be made up primarily of contract or lower-salary opportunities.  Dr. Bonnie Snyder, author and college/career consultant, points to temporary labor as the one hopeful point of the disappoint college job reports, and advices unemployed college graduate to seek opportunities with local temporary agencies.  She states that “temporary work can be like a paid internship…if you do a good job, it’s likely that the employer will seek ways to try to keep you on.”  Members of the class of 2012 have stated finding success by using internships and work-study programs not just as resume boosters but also gateways to permanent jobs. 

“Employers remain hesitant to add permanent employees due to uncertainty about the current strength of the economy and future economic conditions, including impeding tax increases and spending cuts expected to take effect in January 2013. In times like these, businesses are being much more strategic in sourcing additional talent and maintaining workforce flexibility” ~Richard Wahlquist, CEO of ASA