Summer Jobs Survey: 68% of 16- and 17-Year-Olds Plan to Work this Summer – Same Level as Pre-Pandemic

Junior Achievement Survey Also Reveals Teens’ Opinions on Debt-Free College and Plans for the Future

Image caption: Summer Job Vacancy

A new survey of teens conducted for Junior Achievement by the research firm ENGINE Insights shows that two-thirds of 16- and 17-year-olds (68%) plan to work this summer. Nearly the same percentage of teens in that age group (69%) who planned to work in the summer of 2019, based on a similar survey taken pre-pandemic. The 2021 survey of 1,002 13- to 17-year-olds was conducted by ENGINE Insights from May 6 through 13, 2021. The survey was not conducted in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Summer jobs are a great way to introduce young people to the world of work and the importance of earning and managing money,” said Ashley Charest, President, JA of Kansas. “These survey results show many teens are eager to have the experience of a first job. Hopefully, with the availability of vaccines, decline in the number of COVID cases, and proper safety measures in place, they will be able to do just that this summer.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • The top summer jobs teens expect to work are in retail (26%) and restaurants (26%), followed by landscaping/lawn-mowing and other outdoors work (19%), and babysitting/childcare (13%).
  • Nearly all teens surveyed (90%) said that they plan to attend college after high school.
  • Of those planning to attend college after high school, a quarter (27%) expect to take out student loans, while nearly the same percentage (28%) believe they will find some other way to pay for college. Nearly half (45%) are “not sure” if they will need to take out student loans or not.
  • Two-thirds (68%) of all teens say they support “debt-free college” – or college that is free for all attendees. However, that percentage drops to only a third (32%) if it requires higher taxes to pay for it.

Methodology

This Youth CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS among a sample of 1,002 13-17-year-olds. This survey was live on May 6-13, 2021.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. It is nationally representative with set quotas based on census data. The 1,002 completes are all who qualified and completed based on the demographic quota requirements. The MoE is +/- 3.1%.

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