Are You Old Enough to Join The Workforce?
There has long been a debate about how old you should be to enter the workforce. However, in the post-Covid Pandemic world, a growing number of job roles were being taken up by teenagers.
Zumiez is a company geared towards teen clothing and sportswear, but How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at Zumiez? Well, the answer is 16, and it’s perhaps 16 year olds and older teens who are best positioned to understand their customers. With entry-level positions available nationwide, it may be the perfect opportunity to get a career started.
The best part?
Full-time positions come with a number of full-time benefits. But more on that later.
Is 16 Too Young To Start Working full-time?
The short answer: no.
Workers aged between 16-19, have always been a vital part of the American economy. In the late 1970s, numbers showed that over 50% of all late teens were in part or full-time employment. However, as times changed, these numbers began to drop.
At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, figures from the Drexel Researchers showed youth employment at 26.3%, the lowest they had been since the Great Recession.
And yet, since then, it has all changed. In May 2023, the US Labour Department reported that 33.2% of Americans within the 16-19 age bracket had jobs. Barely two years later. A post-pandemic economic boom pushed businesses to recruit more staff to service their customers. And it was young people across the country who answered the call.
But the question is, is it the right step for you?
Benefits of Joining The Workforce as a Teenager
1 Financial freedom
In 1938 minimum wage was 25 cents an hour. We now have a federal minimum wage of over $7.00, with some states stretching that number even higher. Having a personal source of income allows 16-19 year olds power over their own lives. It also has a proven effect on their ability to plan financially in the future.
The US Department of Labour did a study on youth employment and found that, on average, a late teen in employment will improve their salary by 14-16% once they’ve reached their 20s. Using experience gained in their youth to command higher salaries later on.
This, of course, brings us on to my second point…
There is barely a career that will allow a new employee to join their ranks without experience. Even ‘entry level’ positions frequently request two years of relevant experience. Completely defeating the purpose of the title ‘entry-level.’
Employment, even part-time employment, is a show of competency. Employers are able to see on the resume that the applicant has the motivation and ability to work. References demonstrate someone willing to speak up for them. Previous job specifications show a range of skills already proved in practice.
Having experience gives confidence to both the Interviewer and the Interviewee. And as we all know, an interview can often turn on the tide of confidence.
And then there is, of course…
Working from a young age allows teens to build their Rolodex of contacts, digitally in this day and age, of course. As they begin to prove their abilities to both themselves and their employers, they are also building relationships with people who might be able to further their careers later on.
Networking has been a critical part of every career for as long as we can remember. Knowing the right person, attending the right social event, or simply having the right email address could make or break an opportunity.
By starting to work from a young age, teens in employment are able to grow their business community much earlier. Setting them up with mentors and allies who can help take them further up the ladder.
Why Should I Work for Zumiez?
As a teen focused company, the shift back towards youth employment could not have come at a better time for Zumiez. Most 15 year olds would be unlikely to purchase a skateboard from a gentleman with two hip replacements, but a 16 year old in Nike hightops is another thing entirely.
Understanding as much, Zumiez has put the work in to make their vacancies appealing to Generation Z. They have a solid collection of benefits to support their employees and offer a wide range of both entry-level positions and lower management roles for their young staff.
Couple these opportunities with the long list of benefits for full-time staff and the generous discounts afforded to all part-time workers, and you’ve got a generous package whether you choose to stay in education or push for full employment. People who choose to work full-time at Zumiez receive medical, dental, and vision care, plus they have access to a stock purchase program, not to mention the 401k, paid parental leave, life insurance, and paid time off.
So, what’s the catch?
Zumiez is a fast growing, multi-national company. They have high expectations for both their stores and their employees. Staff are set aggressive goals, and hard work is an expected minimum.
However, if you are willing to push yourself, Zumiez presents a glorious opportunity. Their branches are known for having a tightly knit workforce. And when you combine this with the competitive salaries and generous benefits, you have the perfect position to get anybody up onto the employment ladder.
What Roles Are Available for Minors at Zumiez?
There are three key roles open to 16 year olds at Zumiez; however, 16 is the lowest age they will employ. The choice is based mostly on your interest and level of commitment. Please note that whilst we have noted the average salary for each role, actual rates may vary based on experience and local minimum wage requirements.
Contract type – Hourly
Average salary – Between $8-$11
Key trait – Enthusiasm
Zumiez is a lifestyle brand, and their stores reflect this. With the company’s theme of ‘organized chaos,’ it is the enthusiastic, assertive sales associates that will really thrive in this role. Covered in controlled clutter and couches for customers, Zumiez hopes to play to their customer base. It makes sense that a Zumiez Sales Associate ought to do the same.
Contract type – Hourly
Average salary – Between $9-$14
Key trait – Organisation
Key Holder roles are usually taken by highly motivated, career-focused leaders keen to get their foot in the door. The position allows you to work with the Assistant Manager to organize the Sales Associates, plan ahead for future shifts and implement daily projects that will maximize sales within the store.
As a Key Holder, you will also have the opportunity to earn commissions on your sales and develop your career through training and employee conferences. This makes it the perfect role for teens eager to get ahead quickly.
Contract type – Hourly
Average salary – Between $11-$15
Key trait – Confidence / Competence
The role of the Assistant Managers at Zumiez is spread out across operations, sales, and merchandising. They take on more responsibilities within the store, such as reconciling the cash register, inventory audits, promotion set ups, and opening or closing the stores.
Because of this, Assistant Managers are usually hired after a year’s retail experience. However, this is not a requirement and shouldn’t stop talented hopefuls from applying for the position.
Assistant Managers must also begin to practice their creative retail brains. Making merchandising and operational decisions to maximize sales across the store. Commission benefits are offered to all Assistant Managers, so boosting the store sales has a personal motivation as well.
Read more: The Pros and Cons of Commission-Only Jobs
Thinking of Other Retail Options?
Then check out our in-depth look at the Modells Sporting Goods Application, the Champs Sports Application, the Hibbett Sports Application, the Sports Authority Application, and the Academy Sports and Outdoors Job Application for 2023.
You may also be interested in our Good Jobs for Teens, How to Become a Teenage Youth Sports Referee, How to Become a Teen Golf Caddy, and our Sports Medicine Physician Job Description.
And if you’re looking for a good read and some fantastic advice, check out Life Skills and Career Coaching for Teens, Life Skills Activity Workbook, Road Map to Your Job, and Soft Skills Training: A Workbook to Develop Skills for Employment.
There are exciting opportunities for young people appearing all over the place. Companies like Zumiez, however, who are actively pushing to hire more young employees into their ranks are limited. Whether you are looking to move into full time employment or simply want to pick up some hours to gain experience (and a small sense of financial freedom), employers like Zumiez are making those opportunities increasingly enticing.
So really, the only question you should be asking is… when can I get started?
Ready to Get Started Already?
With over 600 stores across the country, there is almost certainly a Zumiez near you. Simply visit Zumiez Careers to see which roles are available to you at your local branch, and all the requirements for application. And our in-depth guide to the Zumiez Application will also come in useful in getting you the interview.
Don’t Apply Yet!
Before you send off your application, check out our Best Resume Format Guide for a flawless resume structure and The Hardest Interview Questions for some tips for interview preparation.
Lastly, before applying, make sure to check the State Child Labour Laws in your area, to see how many hours you can do, as well as all the up to date legal requirements set out state by state.
All the very best with getting a job at Zumiez.