Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Anna Lichtenburg


A large number of full-time secondary students of all types have part-lime jobs although research shows that these jobs are not sought or shared proportionately amongst the student sub-groups. Previous research suggested that social class or socio-economic status (each defined in different ways by different researchers) had an effect on whether or not students engaged in part-lime work. However none suggested why this might be so. The purpose of this study was lo investigate the factors which influenced the decisions which students from different socio-economic backgrounds made about paid part-time work and to determine whether there were differences amongst these groups. A sample stratified by high, middle and low socio-economic groups was selected. The socio-economic status of the school neighbourhood, rather than that of the family of the individual student was used. This decision was based on Kannel's (cited in Ross, Farish & French 1985, p.2) finding that the values and actions of the child were subjected to greater influence from the neighbourhood, acting as an extension of the family, than from the individual home background. The socio-economic status of a neighbourhood was defined according to the latest available census data. To achieve a sample of Year 11 students, six schools were selected; two in a High socio-economic neighbourhood (SEN), two in a Middle SEN and two in a Low SEN. A final sample of 131 students made up the respondent population. All students were surveyed using a branching questionnaire which stratified the sample into those who had had a part-time job during 1992 or 1993, workers, and those who did not have a part-time job during this period, non-workers. Following preliminary analysis of the questionnaire data, 12 students were randomly selected to be interviewed using a Semi-structured Interview schedule. This sample comprised 2 workers and 2 non-workers from each SEN. Students were surveyed on the reasons for having or not having a part-time job, the effects of having a part-time job, job search strategies and on possible relationships between school and part-time work. Descriptive statistical methods of ANOVA and the Scheffe test were used to identify significant differences (p<.01) amongst the SENs. importance was placed on a qualitative approach, including the interview, so as to observe the level of importance or level of agreement which students in each SEN placed on each item in the survey and to gain individual comments. The only significant difference (p<.01) found amongst the SENs was between the Low and Middle SENs showing that students from the Low SEN frequently used their part-time wage to help their parents whereas students from the Middle SEN hardly ever used their wage for this. The results of this study showed that although students worked primarily to earn money, the majority of working and non-working students in each SEN recognised and valued the benefits of part-time work in terms of personal development, workplace skills, work experience and social opportunities. The majority of non-working students in each SEN chose not to have a part-time job because of concerns about school priorities. Interview comments showed that these students were concerned that they were missing the benefits which might come from part-time work and expressed a desire for broader work experience programs in school which were related to their core subject areas. Interview comments also showed that students benefited from integrated career education units.