The days when ambitious teens could get jobs sweeping factory
floors, stocking shelves or working checkouts in the school
holidays, appear to be ending.
Dunedin recruitment agencies say secondary school pupils
looking for the traditional summer holiday job may be out of
luck this year.
Select Recruitment managing director Karen Bardwell said the
company had a couple of clients with job vacancies which
would suit school leavers, but there was nothing for those
wanting short-term jobs over the school holidays.
''Going back a few years, we would have had about a dozen
jobs suitable for secondary school students over the summer,
but those seem to have dried up.''
There were ''temping jobs'' where secondary school pupils
could be assigned a different job at a different business
every day of the week.
Some days they could be working, and on other days there
might be no work and no pay, she said.
She said it was good for school pupils to have traditional
holiday jobs because it prepared them for the workforce by
giving them work experience and a good work ethic.
''Since the economic downturn, there has been less holiday
work. Companies are tightening their belts.''
Ms Bardwell said supermarkets used to be one of the best
businesses for employing school pupils in the holidays, but
had dried up as a source of those opportunities.
''I was surprised that not even supermarkets are giving as
much work to school students now. They are more focused on
employing university students.
''It's because they have to pay minimum wage now and they
want more experienced workers in their jobs for that kind of
''It's a significant downside to the change in legislation.''
Tradestaff Southern area manager Steve Aydon agreed many of
the holiday jobs that used to be available, had disappeared
since companies started reining in labour costs.
He believed many businesses were getting existing staff to do
the jobs a holiday worker would normally do.
He said some of the jobs available required manual labour and
were just too strenuous for most senior secondary school
''A lot of them aren't strong enough or mature enough to do
some of the jobs available.''
Often, teens were overlooked in favour of university
students, he said.
And if there were any jobs that were suitable for teens
during the holidays, they were given privately to pupils who
had family connections at the workplace, he believed.
''The jobs just aren't there any more. If the work was there,
we would be able to put them in there.''
Adecco Personnel southern area manager Teresa Moore said
fruit-picking in Central Otago was still a holiday job option
for teens, but for those wanting work in urban areas, choices
''It's hard enough to keep mums and dads in work, what with
all the closures, layoffs and restructuring going on in the
city. It's sad.''
She said in the past the recruitment agency had a lot of
holiday work in factories for teens, doing simple
Given that Dunedin has very few factories left, those jobs
However, the news was not all bad.
Miss Moore, Mr Aydon and Ms Bardwell said there were
definitely still full-time jobs for school leavers -
particularly if they were ambitious, focused and had a
''That's the trick,'' Mr Aydon said.
''If they've got the right attitude, we can get them a job.''