That job at the local drive-thru window or car wash might not be the most glamorous, but a recent study says summer work gives teens a competitive advantage later in life.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The study out of the University of British Columbia found that those who worked in the summer or in the evenings during the school year were more likely to have good employment and higher salaries later in life.

“With summer in full swing and kids sitting on the couch, parents are wondering whether to push them to find a job,”  Marc-David Seidel, a co-author of the study and professor at the university’s business school, said. “Parents may think that their kids could do better than a job at the local fast-food joint. But our study shows even flipping burgers has value — particularly if it leads to part-time work later during school term.”

Part of the benefit teenagers experience from early work, the study found, is that it seems to help them focus on their work preferences and gives them skills like how to get better references and how to job hunt successfully.

Researchers came to these conclusions using data from the Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey, which looked at the work history of more than 200,000 Canadians from age 15 to 25.

“Adolescent labor has been stigmatized as exploitative with many parents opting to put their kids in summer camp rather than summer jobs,” Seidel said. “However, our research shows that working can offer educational and developmental opportunities that prepare adolescents for the real world.”

The study was published in the journal Research in the Sociology of Work.

(H/T: Science Daily)

Front page image via Shutterstock.