Student jobs, yes, but in small doses

In order not to affect academic success, a student job must not exceed 12 to 15 hours per week, be done during the standard hours of the work day but without encroaching on the courses.
The government is stepping up the devices to promote student work. Since 1 January, students earning more than 890 euros per month – for three months – are indeed eligible for the new “activity bonus”. And the Ministry of National Education and Higher Education has clearly announced that the plan to open university libraries in the evening, on Saturday morning and during the revisions period, starting in September 2016, will “rest principal on the use of student contractors “.
Today, about one student in two works – 45% according to the latest survey of the Observatory of student life published in 2013 – including scholars. But working to finance one’s studies does not always mean success. “The question arises particularly in general licenses, where, in order not to be penalizing, the work must remain small dose and compatible with the follow-up courses, explains Yannick L’Horty, professor of economics at the University Paris- East Marne-la-Vallée (UPEM) and professional integration specialist.

“To put it in perspective, a good student job has the opposite characteristics of a good non-student job: it must offer few hours of work, be casual, flexible and temporary,” explains Mr. L’Horty. The least present at the lectures are those who drop out, “he warns. Philippine Ader, former sales advisor in a chain of stores and law student in Poitiers, made the difficult experience. She worked about ten hours on Wednesdays and Fridays afternoons, but sometimes she was asked to work up to thirty-five hours. “Even if it became very disabling, it was difficult to refuse because, when we find a job, we would like to keep it …”

Income supplement

To draw the robot portrait of a “good job”, Mr. L’Horty was the architect of a flagship project called “Improving the Quality of Jobs Employed by Students”. Nearly 500 undergraduate students in science, literature, law and economics from the University of Maine participated, from September 2010 to the end of 2012. The skills learned by students have been identified, potential employers in the region were solicited to bring out new quality job opportunities, and the students were accompanied in the drafting of resumes and cover letters. Their results were observed.

“At the end of this experiment, we concluded that the weekly duration of a” good job “should not be too long, even if it depends a little on the students. In fact, the maximum limit not to exceed is between twelve and fifteen hours but it is generally recommended not to go beyond thirteen hours to thirteen thirty, “said Loïc du Parquet, senior lecturer in economics at the University of Paris. University of Maine and project leader on the Sarthe campus. The idea being that a student job should be limited to an income supplement. Another lesson of this study: when a student accesses quality job offers “he succeeds in his studies in the same way as the one who does not work,” says M. du Parquet.

Zoe Raluy, a second-year law student at the University of Bordeaux, who works as a saleswoman fifteen hours a week in a luxury brand, is quite satisfied. “Even if it’s quite tiring, I’m lucky because the university is quite understanding so that I can reconcile this work with my schedule, the team understands my constraints. ”

At Le Mans, Mr. du Parquet also cites as examples of “good jobs” those of events, such as his university offers at sporting events, open days, or jobs teaching assistants offered by the academic inspection. Mr. L’Horty also recommends giving private lessons, the hourly wage is rather high and schedules are more flexible. On the other hand, it is better to forbid the offers of the large distribution or fast-foods, which propose hours badly distributed. As well as night jobs where one combines fatigue and disorganization of one’s daily life.

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