What is the average age to get a first job?

Young people are getting their first jobs later in life and it costs them later onBy Marianna Hunt 4 January 2020 5:00amThe average age for a person to start their first job has

What is the average age to get a first job?

Young people are getting their first jobs later in life  and it costs them later onBy Marianna Hunt 4 January 2020  5:00am

A young person sitting at a computer

The average age for a person to start their first job has risen from 16 to 18 over the past two decades

The number of teenagers with jobs is plummeting, mostly as a result of fewer people choosing to work while they study.

Young people are now waiting two years longer to enter the workplace than two decades ago, bringing the average age for a person to start their first job up from 16 to 18, according to a new report by the Resolution Foundation, a think tank.

Experts are warning that, by waiting longer to start work, young people could be doing permanent damage to their career prospects.

So will the 2020s spell the end of the Saturday job? And, what are the consequences of waiting longer before you work?

Fewer young people are earning while they study

Only one in four teenagers aged 16 to 17 currently has a job, the report found. Twenty years ago the figures were double that, with half of thisage group in work. Most of the decline is due to students choosing not to take on a part-time job while at school or college.

The trend towards not working is stretching into university life too.

The number of 18 to 19-year-olds working while studying for a degree has dropped by a quarter since the late Nineties.

The Resolution Foundations Laura Gardiner suggested the reason may be down to the fact that young people today know they will be working much later in life than their parents or grandparents, and so want to delay entering employment.

The consequences for your career prospects

By waiting longer to enter the workplace, young people risk missing out on valuable work experience, the report warned.

As students increasingly choose to shun work as they study, they are also having to wait longer after leaving education to get a job. Young people leaving education in 1997-9 had a 56pc chance of finding paid employment within a year of finishing their studies. Today, less than half (44pc) do so.Money Newsletter REFERRAL (Article)

Steve Sully, of recruitment firm Robert Half UK, said people who undertake some kind of work while studying often find it easier to showcase their skills during interviews later in life. They can already draw on their commitment to time management, prioritisation and meeting expectations, he said.

Competition among graduates for entry-level jobs is likely to be fiercer than usual this year as employers hold off hiring, according to forecasts by the Institute of Student Employers, a member organisation. Its chief executive Stephen Isherwood advised those struggling to get a first step on the career ladder to secure some work experience before submitting an application.

The number of people who have never worked is growing

Ms Gardiner added that a lack of work experience can be particularly dangerous for young people who end up hitting other life milestones, like motherhood or ill-health, that can impede their ability to work before their careers even get off the ground.

The number of women, aged between 25 and 39, who havechildrenand whohave never worked has doubled over the past two decades, to almost 7pc today. For men with health problems in the same age group, the figure has also risen and is closer to 8pc.

The total number of working age adults who have never been employed is now 3.4 million  a 50pc jump over 20 years.

Other milestones are being delayed

By choosing to wait longer before starting earning, young people may also be delaying other important moments in their lives  reducing their capacity to afford to buy a home or have a child, said Emma-Lou Montgomery of wealth manager Fidelity.

The average age for a person to move out of their parents home was 21 in the late Nineties, according to the Official for National Statistics. Now, twentysomethingsare having to wait two years longer.

The average age of a first-time mother has risen by two years as well  from 27 in 1997 to 29 in 2016. People are also getting married later, at age 33 for men and 31 for women, according to the ONS.

By delaying starting work you could put a serious dent in your potential future financial health  particularly in terms of your retirement savings, saidMs Montgomery. Even investing a small amount into a pension on a regular basis when youre 20 has the potential to grow into something far greater than a much larger sum invested years later.Related Topics

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