The Effects of Part-Time Jobs on Grades

The Effects of Part-Time Jobs on Grades

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Contrary to what teachers think, part-time jobs of less than 15 hours a week do not affect grades!

That’s the conclusion I came down to after an in-depth analysis of the scientific literature. However, it does not mean there are no downsides to holding a job while studying. The data also shows that there is a real risk of dropping out for students who work more than 20 hours a week.

Let me show you my findings!

Finding 1: The Impact Depends on the Number of Hours Worked per Week

An in-depth review of the scientific literature reveals that the effects of part-time jobs depend on the number of hours worked per week.

Table 1 shows students who work over 20 hours a week see their grades drop. On the other hand, students who work less than 10 hours a week get better grades than nonworking students.

Number of hours worked per weekImpact on grades
Non-working studentsNo effect (Baseline)
Less than 10 hoursPositive effect or no effect
11-15 hoursNo effect
15-20 hoursNegative effect
Over 20 hoursVery negative effect
Table 1. Review of the results of 3 papers about the effects of part-time jobs on grades. Sources: [1], [2], [3].

Table 1: Sources and Facts

  1. IJASRM: Students who worked less than 20 hours per week had an average GPA of 3.13, while nonworking students had an average GDP of 3.04. The research shows that students who worked over 20 hours a week had much lower grade point averages — 2.95 on average.
  2. International Journal of Business Administration: An interesting finding of the study is that work positively affects both satisfaction and GPA when students work fewer than 10 hours. Thus, part-job may not always be detrimental to students’ satisfaction. However, when students work for over 11 hours a week, we observe that students’ satisfaction and GPA decline.
  3. National Center for Education Statistics: As students work longer hours, they achieve at lower levels academically and are less likely to engage in extracurricular activities.

Finding 2: Teachers Think That Part-Time Jobs Have Negative Effects on Grades

1500 teachers were asked if having a part-time job affects academic performance.

The survey has an unambiguous interpretation: most teachers think part-time jobs hurt academic performance (see Table 2).

Teacher’s opinionResult
Negative impact61.9%
Positive impact22.3%
No impact15.8%
Table 2. Teacher answer the question: “How does having a part-time job affect student academic performance?“. Source: Teachnology.

The number of teachers who felt that working has no impact on grades is 15.8%. These teachers think that some students spend very little time studying, so their hours working have little or no effect on academic performance.

Here’s another interesting finding: 22.1% of the teachers felt that part-time jobs improved academic performance. Some teachers think that when students become responsible enough to hold down a job, they can take advantage of this new attitude to improve their grades.

Discussion and Analysis

Getting a part-time job is the first step many students take when they start college. There are many benefits to working part-time as a student, such as earning extra money, gaining job experience, and learning time management.

However, most teachers think that part-time jobs hurt student grades. The scientific literature confirms that it is especially true for students who work over 20 hours a week. Those students do not have enough time left to study for their exams.

While it is true that part-time jobs are time-consuming, some employers argue that working students can get motivated to pursue their studies after spending some time at work. As the data shows in Table 1, this is only true for students who work less than 10 hours a week. Part-time jobs can positively affect satisfaction and GPA, provided that students work fewer than 10 hours a week. In this case, part-time jobs are an excellent opportunity to transfer a professional attitude toward your academic studies.

We conclude that the academic performance of working students depends on the number of hours worked per week. While it is easy to balance work and school for students who work less than 15 hours a week, it gets more difficult for students who work more than 20 hours a week.

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.