More young people hold paid jobs in Iceland than in any of the other Nordic countries, according to a new study by Arbetsliv I Norden.
Over half of Icelandic 15-19 year olds are in the job market whereas just over 40% of Danes of the same age hold jobs.
Young people in Iceland mostly have low-paid part-time jobs that require no qualifications, often with irregular working hours, and attend college at the same time.
“There’s obvious correlation between bad results at school and the fact that the students are working,” Aðalheiður Steingrímsdóttir, president of the College Teachers’ Association, told Vísir.is. “All this work then often leads to the kids drop out of college.”
She reckoned there are two main reasons why Icelandic children and young people work so hard. “It’s expensive to go to college in Iceland. The students need to pay for books and other equipment and some households are simply in such bad financial crisis that they can’t cover this cost for the students, who have to work for it instead. But then there are those who need to work to fund their lifestyle, clothing, expensive mobile phones etc.”
Aðalheiður pointed out that in the other Nordic countries, young people receive student grants to go to college and that Icelandic teachers have long suggested similar system being implemented here.
The Childrens’ Ombudsman in Iceland, Margrét María Sigurðardóttir, told Vísir.is that drop-out from college is nowhere in Europe more common than in Iceland and that too much work could be a factor in that. She said many forget that study is work too and therefore a lot of young people are simply holding two jobs.