Need a Job?

High school job market in Oshkosh provides opportunities


Katy Wetterau

Oshkosh Sophomore Lizzy Scharpf makes a sandwich at Jimmy John’s on Saturday April 23. Many high schoolers have found increased opportunities in post-COVID job market.

Konrad Bowlus-Jasinski, Writer

The job market has historically not been great for high school students. Minimum wage jobs, no bonuses and more. However, the Post-COVID job market can offer high school students choices, high pay, and even bonuses. This makes right now a great chance for high school students to not only get a job, but also gain benefits and high wages.

Oshkosh North junior Darian Niedfielt, who works three jobs and has plenty of experience as an employee, perfectly describes the status of the job market for high school students. 

“The employers are desperate and looking all over for people to fill their jobs,” Niedfieldt said.

Not only are job openings high, but Job interest is also high among students as 53 of the 256 students surveyed do not have a job but are looking for one. However, the range of time that students have been looking for jobs is quite large as some students report that they have been looking for a job for under 2 weeks while others say that they have been looking for over a year.

One of the people who found one immediately was Junior Adrienne Xiong who only sent in one application before getting a job.

An Oshkosh North Student who is on the other end of the spectrum is sophomore Iowah Redmond who was not able to get a job for over 4 months despite sending a large number of applications.

One common factor that both interviewees had was that they had not heard of the job board at Oshkosh North. And this lack of knowledge of where to apply for jobs is very commonplace among students that are looking for jobs and not finding one. However, quite a few students have had a fruitful end to their search and consequently, the employment rate of high school students at Oshkosh North is rising.

In fact, 54% of the Oshkosh North students who took the job survey we sent out have jobs, matching the average employment rate for young Americans in the United States at 54.4% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment rate appears to have barely shifted from 2001 as the employment rate for teens then was 52%. However, this is not the case in 2011 when the employment rate was a measly 34.1% for young adults. This is a big shift from the summer of 2020 when the employment rate was 46.7%. 

The rise in job openings has also led to significantly better pay for students. According to the survey, Oshkosh North students earn an average of 11 dollars an hour, $3.75 above the federal minimum wage. This rise is because of a multitude of reasons including people leaving their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has left a large impact on business owners and has made pay for positions rise, including entry level positions. 

One of the places that has brought up its wages is Jimmy John’s. Nickki Mack, a Fox Valley Area Manager for Jimmy John’s in the Fox Valley Area, said that wages for starting positions had gone up by 30%.  However, even with pay for positions rising, some places still cannot find work. 

An example of this is Primos’, an Italian restaurant in Oshkosh which closed down in 2021 because of a worker shortage, according to the Oshkosh Northwestern.  This lack of work expands outside of the local sphere and into the national and international one as many places across the world have experienced food and supply shortages because of the lack of workers who are able to transport these items.

Along with pay raises, employers have also resorted to offering an array of benefits for workers. According to our survey, 27% of the students who work a job receive benefits at their job including discounts and bonuses. These bonuses and benefits are still on the market today. Examples of these benefits include Panera Bread offering a $500 sign-on bonus to work as a cashier and Home Helpers Home Care offering up to $1,000 sign-on bonus.

Xiong, who works at Walgreens, says that she could go to R.K Coit College for Pharmacy at Arizona College for free if she chose to because of her position at Walgreens. 

These benefits and better pay has led to high school students putting in quite a bit of work as the average amount of time worked by high school students at Oshkosh North is 15.67 hours a week. This shows that even with school and other activities such as school extracurriculars, students are making time for their job, likely because of the aforementioned better wages and extras benefits.

In conclusion, the job market for high school students offers a rapid rise in wages along with ongoing labor movements to create even more benefits for workers. Combined with the desperation of stores needing workers, this leads to greater opportunity for high school students that need a part-time job.