Économie et Statistique n° 378-379 - 2004Education-Employment Review
Do jobs worked when studying have any professional value?
Nearly 80% of all students who left higher education in 1998 worked in paid employment, not counting traineeships, during their studies. For 15% of these young people, this was a regular job worked at least eight hours per week during the school year. Such employment covers a wide range of jobs: many are secondary jobs, often unskilled and part time, finishing at the end of their studies. However, others are more skilled and may continue over the three years following the exit from the education system. Some 11% of these young people could even be called pre-integrated into employment: they have attained a stable professional position in keeping with their education before the end of their studies. Although one-third of young people feel that such work disrupted their studies, the majority consider that it gave them skills, networks of professional contacts or quite simply experience worth putting on their CV. For some of them, this will condition their access to subsequent employment, demonstrating the professional value of working when studying. Graduates from higher education can use this initial work experience to their benefit, even if its contribution is generally small compared with the qualification and depends first and foremost on the characteristics of the work itself. The most highly skilled professional activities and those associated with the studies taken are generally held in the highest standing by students and their future employers. Less is made of other activities seen primarily as «casual jobs» to bring in extra money. In all cases, the greater the time investment the more the work while studying is likely to be optimised on the labour market, but the more it is likely to disrupt the studies.