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The Pros and Cons of Hiring College Students
February 07, 2019
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The Pros and Cons of Hiring College Students

Did you know that there are 19.9 million college students in the United States? Many of those students are taking classes during the regular semester schedule, giving them time during winter and summer breaks to work. While there are many benefits to hiring college students as part-time employees for your small business, there are some potential drawbacks as well.

If you’re thinking about starting the hiring process of recruiting college students, consider these pros and cons first.

Should You Hire College Students to Work at Your Business?

Pro: Save on Payroll

Hiring a student with little or no previous work experience means spending less on that employee’s wages. You’ll still need to pay them fairly and will  be responsible for costs associated with hiring a temporary employee, but those costs will be significantly lower than if you were to hire an employee with a degree and work experience.

Con: They’ll Have Less Work Experience

Many college students will be eager to learn and have a desire to work hard for your business. However, those attributes can’t make up for the experience that comes with spending years working in your industry. If the position you’re hiring for requires specific skills, you might need to hire someone with a more robust resume. By hiring a student for the position, you’ll need to spend more time training them for the job, which could result in higher onboarding costs as well.

Pro: They May Have Skills You Haven’t Considered

A college student may not have years of work experience, but there’s a good chance that they’ll have some valuable skills to bring to their role. For example, college students may be technologically savvy, or have fresh ideas when it comes to utilizing social media to promote your business. Having access to their skills could help you accomplish tasks that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Con: Schoolwork Will Be a Priority

When hiring a full-time, experienced employee, you can expect them to make their job a top priority. On the other hand, when your employee is also a student, schoolwork will likely be their primary focus. This can work out well if you’re hiring for a seasonal position, allowing the student to work during school breaks. However, if you’re looking for a part-time employee, you’ll need to keep in mind that a student may not be available during your business’s hours of operation.

Pro: A Willingness to Learn

Along with a paycheck to help cover school and living expenses, students will be using jobs they take during college to build valuable work experience. Taking on a job in addition to schoolwork provides students with the opportunity to become familiar with working in an office (or other work environment, depending on your industry) and all the tasks that come with that. Due to that, they’ll be open to learning as much as possible to build the skills they’ll use throughout their career.

Con: Uncertain Schedules

Because schoolwork is the focus for a student employee, you’ll need to be flexible with your work schedule. This might not be a problem if you only need temporary help during winter and summer breaks, but things will get more complicated throughout the academic year. Your employee’s school schedule will likely change from one semester to the next, meaning you’ll need to adjust his or her work schedule every few months.

Conclusion: Decide if College Students Would Make Good Employees

There are numerous advantages to hiring students to work for your small business. If you’re flexible, open to new ideas, and willing to work around a hectic schedule, your business can benefit from a young and enthusiastic employee. If you’ve been considering hiring a new employee, especially for part-time jobs or seasonal work, hiring a college student might be a good solution for you.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jess-Barnes
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Jess has a passion for helping business owners build their brand and connect with their audience. She writes about money, tech, health, and travel for blogs and businesses.