The best part-time jobs for students

Don’t make fun of that McJobber. His employer might be partially reimbursing his tuition.

A customer purchases coffee at a newly redesigned Starbucks store in New York City, on Friday, October 29, 2010. Starbucks has committed to have all of its new company-owned stores LEED certified by the end of 2010. (Ramin Talaie/Corbis)

A customer purchases coffee at a newly redesigned Starbucks store in New York City, on Friday, October 29, 2010. Starbucks has committed to have all of its new company-owned stores LEED certified by the end of 2010. (Ramin Talaie/Corbis)

Whether it’s to help pay tuition, rent or for everyday expenses, a part-time job is a necessity for many students. While firing off an application to the first ad you see on Craigslist could prove fruitful, we’ve done some research to figure out which employers offer you more than just minimum wage. After all, not all part-time jobs are created equal.

Some companies extend benefits to part-timers, including tuition reimbursement, health and dental coverage, flexible schedules, stocks at a discount and, of course, employee discounts.

Students will have the most luck finding benefits at retail jobs, because weekend and evening mall hours are attractive to those who typically have few responsibilities after finishing class for the day, says Nathan Laurie, publisher of JobPostings.ca.

It may seem odd that big retailers are willing to spend money for benefits on student employees, who usually plan to move on after a few months or years on the job. The reasoning is employers hope to create a work environment that not only attracts students, but retains them, says Tanya Sieliakus, a Halifax-based human resources expert.

“They want that employee to graduate and stay,” she says. “If you’ve got somebody and they’ve grown up with the company, that’s the ideal. They know the good, the bad, the ugly of your organization.”

Working for an hourly minimum wage could lead to a managerial or office job for students who stick around. The part-time perks just might be an incentive to climb the ladder.

Corporate benefits

Schlepping coffee at a café may feel more authentic than working at the Starbucks across the street, but joining the corporate conglomerate has its benefits. The java giant has 1,200 locations across Canada and is a prime employer for students in university and college looking for flexible schedules. According to company spokesperson Carly Suppa, about 70 per cent of store employees are between the ages of 18 and 24.

Coffee may be the ideal workplace freebie for sleep-deprived students, but the corporation doesn’t shy away from providing other benefits. After working one year, part-time baristas can receive a tuition reimbursement between $500 and $1,000, depending on how many months and paid hours they’ve worked.

There are plenty of other corporate kings who are kind to their students. Home Depot offers tuition reimbursement after six months of continuous service; those with more than three years of service can get up to $5,000. Another employer to keep on the job-hunt radar is Cineplex Entertainment, which also offers tuition assistance, along with flexible hours and of course, free movies.

Sharing economy

From picking up odd jobs to toting around passengers, the sharing economy allows students to make extra money when it’s most convenient for them.

Stilina Anagnostakos, a 20-year-old University of Toronto finance and economics major, hopes to relaunch Odd-Jobs.ca in early 2016. On pause right now while she works on a way to automate the match-making service, this summer it connected students in Newmarket and Aurora, Ont., with tasks around their neighbourhoods like garage cleaning and lawn mowing.

“While school gets harder and harder, and becomes a bigger and bigger commitment, finding a part-time job also becomes very difficult,” says Anagnostakos. “Students can’t really commit to those sort of things anymore. I believe that freelance work is a great way for them to earn some extra money.”

Anagnostakos launched her website in May 2015, managed it for a few months, and then had to take a break when she went back to school. In just a few months she signed up 14 students, who made between $13 and $16 an hour doing tasks, or up to $200 a week (she takes a cut of the earnings for her services).

She’s now working on an algorithm that will do the matching for her, and trying to raise money from venture capitalists and government grants. She expects the site will be up and running in April next year.

Students can also find odd jobs on AskForTask.com, which connects taskmasters with job seekers who can get the work done for up to $30 an hour.

And if you own a car, you can always sign up to be an Uber driver, like Osman Yusoof, who has been driving for the car service since early 2015. The 24-year-old University of Ottawa computer engineering student ferries passengers around town for six to 10 hours a week and makes up to $200 a week.

“For students, you have classes at different times on different days, so [with Uber] you can really choose your own hours,” says Yusoof. He drives whenever he has some free time and needs to make extra spending money. “I like to splurge once in a while and I use my Uber money to do that.”

The ride-sharing service has gained popularity on campuses as an affordable alternative for party-goers trying to get home after pub nights and house jams. While Yusoof has worked between the peak hours of 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., he usually sticks to evening rush hour. Those above the age of 21 looking to profit from their vehicles need to sign up and undergo background checks. After that, students can play chauffeur whenever they want and receive a monthly paycheque from Uber.

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The best part-time jobs for students

  1. Everyone should work a McJob when they’re young. Maybe then we wouldn’t have so many people mistreating them and acting like they’re so much better. I saw a complete a**hole walk into Wendys two nights ago and bitch out the staff because he was dissatisfied with the service he got at the drive-thru window. He told the manager “if that little girl even makes eye contact with me again, I’m going to go behind the counter myself and give her an attitude adjustment.”

    This wasn’t some roided up greasy tattooed thug – he was wearing a fashionable slim-cut suit and was well-groomed, maybe early 30s. Yet he felt justified making veiled threats towards a teenaged girl working the drive-thru window. I have no idea what the girl did or said that upset him. To her credit, when the manager went to talk to her, she just blew it off and laughed about it. I thought to myself “Good for you kid.” I think it upset me more than it upset her, just seeing someone so belligerently trying to bully someone he felt beneath him.

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