Hiring college students as part-time workers: some pros and cons

Many businesses rely on part-time workers to fill the gaps during busy periods. You may be considering hiring local college students on a part-time basis, and while there are plenty of good reasons to go this route, there are also some pitfalls to consider. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks involved.

Pros of hiring college students

They need the money

Let’s face it: College students tend to be pretty poor, what with those massive tuition bills to foot. Add in the fact that their schedules are somewhat restrictive (more on that later), and many are happy to do whatever it takes to bring home a paycheck. 

That’s why college hires make great employees—they’re less likely to complain about doing the grunt work because they’re so unbelievably grateful to be earning money in the first place.

They’re more likely to be satisfied with part-time work

Some part-time employees don’t appreciate being denied full-time status. After all, working part-time often means missing out on key benefits that only full-timers get. It’s therefore not unusual for part-timers to complain, slack off, or push for the 40 hours a week you just can’t give them. 

College students, on the other hand, are much more likely to embrace their part-time status because they don’t have 40 available hours per week to work anyway.

They’re motivated

Many college students work part-time not just for the money, but to build their resumes in order to have a shot at actual employment once they graduate.

Furthermore, college students tend to rely on their employers to provide references for later on, and so they’re often motivated to do a good job and build strong relationships with their temporary employers.

Cons of hiring college students

They’ve got other priorities

It’s true that many college students have a strong work ethic and value the relationships they build with their employers. But at the end of the day, they prioritize school.

What this means is that if you need someone to cover a last-minute shift in a pinch, a student employee is likely to say no if he or she has a midterm or paper due the very next day.

They may lack experience and maturity

Most college students are pretty young, and with youth comes a general lack of real-world experience and maturity that could impact on-the-job performance, even if unintentionally. Some student employees might lack interpersonal skills and rub customers the wrong way. 

It’s not because they’re rude, but because they just don’t have the experience to know how to handle certain situations. You may therefore need to proceed with caution before putting a student employee out on the front lines.

Their schedule is subject to change every four months

College students take different classes each semester, and change their schedules constantly. This could make your life as a manager somewhat difficult if you’re the type who prefers to stick to preset schedules for lengthy periods of time. 

Along these lines, you might find that a student who works for you one semester is no longer available the following term due to school-related conflicts, in which case you might come away feeling like you wasted your time training that person to begin with.

While there are plenty of good reasons to hire college students as part-time staff, you should be aware of the risks and disadvantages involved. If you are going to employ students, go into it with your expectations in check, and with any luck, it’ll be a move that works out in your favor.   

Use Homebase hiring to find qualified candidates for your business.


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