Retailing the Pros and Cons of Students Helping Your Business

Whether you are looking for temporary help or hiring full-time staff, one option you may consider is student employees. In fact, according to statistics from, high school and college students made up about two-thirds of the seasonal workforce between Thanksgiving and New Years in 2013. Retailers have a lot to think about when hiring students.

collegeEnthusiasm but Lack of Experience

Some retailers are drawn to students because of their enthusiasm. For some, it may be their first job while for others it is a continuation of their part-time careers

Either way, this age group is generally full of energy and enthusiasm, which reflects to the customer. It’s always good for business to hire a smiling face behind the counter.

The downside of hiring students is lack of experience. Because many have not held a job, they do not know how to handle many situations. They make mistakes as they are learning even if they are dedicated to their jobs. This can be a concern for retailers that fear upsetting customers and losing business.

Others may not take having a job seriously and often show up late or not at all. This is a risk you take when hiring any employee, but it can often feel like a bigger issue when you focus on hiring students.

The key to avoiding these issues is to use the same thorough hiring approach that you would when hiring traditional employees. Even with no work experience, many students have a history with volunteering or belonging to clubs.


One of the primary reasons retailers hire students beyond the busy season is for their work flexibility.

While business owners must be willing to work around school schedules, it often means they have employees willing to work outside normal business hours. Students will take early morning and late-night schedules that other people don’t want to work. They also don’t mind working weekends.

Hiring Students

When you hire students, you must be sure to pay them an adequate wage that is representative of what you would pay others with their level of experience.

While many of these jobs are entry level and pay a lower salary, you must make sure that you don’t take advantage of the fact that they are students and pay them less than others in the same job.

You may want to consider including benefits, especially if your student employees work more hours or are long-term.

As the following article shows, this may include vacation and paying part of the cost of Health insurance for students.

This gives them experience with what a “real job” would be like. In addition, it often gives them incentive to work harder and even consider staying with your company once they graduate.

Hiring high school and college students could be a smart move for your business, but only if you treat them with the same respect and expectations that you would other employees.

But with the right policies in place, it could be beneficial to both you and the students.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including HR and the retail sector.

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