For many, it can be exciting to have a summer job and earn some extra money.

If you have a summer job or part-time job when you're young, you often earn higher wages as an adult

The difference can be more than 9,000 USD a year.

Will you be working this summer? It can have a big effect on what you earn as an adult.

According to Statistics Norway, having a summer job can be very profitable.

Young people who had a summer job or part-time job at the age of 17 earned almost NOK 100,000 (9,490 USD) more per year as adults.

“One reason why it can be beneficial to enter the workforce early is that you gain experience in how the labour market functions and perhaps also motivation to pursue further education,” researcher Elin Svarstad tells She has done research on wages and work at the Fafo Research Foundation.

Elin Svarstad is a researcher at Fafo.

Those with summer jobs earn much more

“Having a part-time job as a young person seems to be a highly profitable stepping stone into working life,” senior adviser at Statistics Norway, Jon Epland says.

Statistics Norway has monitored the wage development of those born in 1987 until they turned 34 years old in 2021.

In 2021, the median income for adult men who had a job as youths was NOK 632,000 (59,900 USD), compared to NOK 535,000 (50,706 USD) for those who did not have a job as youths.

That is a difference of NOK 97,000 (9,200 USD).

The difference was slightly smaller among women, with a difference of NOK 82,000 (7,780 USD).

“We find the same income differences between those who had a job at the age of 17 and those who did not, for both the 1989 and 1991 cohorts,” Epland says.

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    Wages are not the only difference

    Statistics Norway sees several connections between not having a part-time job as a youth and adult life.

    Among those who did not have a job as youths, there were more individuals who were unemployed as adults.

    Around 15 per cent of women who did not have a job as youths were also without a job at the age of 34, compared to only 6 per cent of women who had a job as youths.

    “The group that did not work at the age of 17 had twice the likelihood of ending up as recipients of disability benefits as young adults compared to their peers who worked,” Epland says.

    Higher education

    Statistics Norway also observes a difference when it comes to education.

    Those who did not have a job as youths pursued less education, and not as many pursued higher education.

    There are several professions that require higher education.

    Your family can play a big role

    Family background also plays a role in whether or not you secure a job as a young person.

    Nearly 36 per cent of those who did not work as youths came from families with lower incomes, according to figures from Statistics Norway.

    “There is indeed a connection between being young and not working and coming from a low-income family. One explanation for this connection could be that parents with higher income have larger networks and thus better opportunities to help their children find summer jobs," Svarstad says.

    She says that it is good to keep in mind that it is advantageous to have a summer job or part-time job as a young person.

    “It provides an opportunity to test out working life and perhaps also make it easier to choose education or career paths later in life,” Svarstad says.


    Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.

    Read the Norwegian version of this article on


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