Amount of working young people in Flanders reaches record high

The number of young people in Flanders with a second job has never been higher: the proportion of people aged between 14 and 25 who work during the school year has doubled from 18 to 36 percent between 2006 and 2023, writes De Tijd on Friday.

Working on the side is particularly popular among Flemish students: more than three quarters of them have a job, and about half of them work during the school year, De Tijd reports based on figures from the Youth Research Platform.

There are some patterns to be found in the young people's backgrounds. Young people whose parents have a low level of education are more likely to have a part-time job and to work outside the school holidays, while those with a migrant background are less likely to have a part-time job.

Financial background also plays an important role in whether and when young people work. Those who make ends meet easily are less likely to work than those who have more financial difficulties. And the decision to work only during the holidays is most common among young people with medium- or high-skilled parents, who on average have a higher income.

Impact on results unclear

It is not clear whether having a second job affects academic performance. A UGent study found that working students take longer on average to finish their studies than those without a job. But a 2020 study by Vrije Universiteit Brussel found no link between having a second job and worse academic results. Both studies agreed, however, that working many hours per week negatively impacts results.

Student jobs are particularly popular in Belgium because they are tax-free. Since 2023, young people can work 600 hours a year without having to pay taxes. This trend can also be seen in the increasing number of 'flexi-jobs', which allow people with at least 80 per cent employment to work part-time without having to pay tax on their extra income.



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