Only a quarter of 16 and 17-year olds are currently involved in conventional paid work, according to the Resolution Foundation think tank. This compares to almost half (48%) in 1999.  

The findings suggest that, while money was once made through graft and elbow grease, thanks to the rise in online work opportunities young folks can stay at home and earn cash.  

Some cyberspace jobs can be incredibly lucrative, with numerous ways to earn from the comfort of the couch. From producing podcasts to starring in YouTube videos to gaming to selling niche or specialist items, the World Wide Web is your planet-sized oyster.  

Among the most popular roles for youngsters are creative entrepreneur, content creator and clothing vendor. A study by Barclays found 11% of young people bought and sold clothes and products online. An estimated 670,000 teenagers are involved in such ventures, making themselves £11 million annually.  

But how does making moolah online compare to ‘traditional’ jobs? 

Well, a glance at the pros and cons immediately highlights the fact that in many sectors, due to the gig economy or freelance nature of many online assignments, the availability of online work can be irregular and inconsistent – and this means earnings are too.  

Because traditional jobs involve a far greater level of investment by an employer – in terms of recruitment, workplace costs, training, insurance, contracts and strict adherence to employee legislation – they tend to offer greater stability when it comes to take-home pay and job security, as well as associated rights such as paid holiday time and sick leave. 

On the other hand, working online offers flexibility traditional jobs cannot. Even with the option of flexi-time, a typical workplace role comes with higher expectations and responsibilities.  

Doing business online affords the luxury of setting your own schedule and determining your workspace. Work where you like, when you like and at a pace you like . . . what’s not to like?  

Moreover, online opportunities and earning potential can be limitless. The Internet is as big as your imagination, with countless ways to make money and, thanks to superfast connectivity, new opportunities popping up all the time.  

That said, starting a business or making money from a hobby or special skill is not something that should be entered into lightly. There are risks involved that don’t come with traditional jobs, so careful consideration is essential. 

Firstly, there are safety aspects. The Internet is wonderful for keeping us connected, informed and entertained but it also has the potential to be a dark and dangerous place. It’s not always easy to differentiate between honest ways of earning and more dubious methods. Some scammers can exploit youngsters, leaving them vulnerable to personal and professional abuse, including at the very least non-payment for completed work.  

The growth in popularity of online work also means if you wish to make a living from the Internet you must stand out from the crowd and offer something unique. Not everyone is successful – you must excel in your chosen field and be utterly determined.  

Success and earning power rarely happen overnight; usually making money online is a ‘long game’. Get-rich-quick schemes are nearly always too good to be true.  

It’s also worth noting many employers have begun voicing concern that the decline in the uptake of traditional jobs among teenagers may leave many unprepared for the realities of working life should online opportunities suddenly stop.  

This warning comes as new data suggests the entry-level jobs market could be set to stagnate, with young workers forced to compete for fewer positions. 

The Institute of Student Employers’ (ISE) Pulse Survey for 2020 shows employers planning to recruit only 2.7% more school leavers and graduates. 

Of course, this means young job applicants who bring additional skills learned from conventional roles could have a natural advantage in landing a full-time career. 

While these roles – part or full-time, seasonal or permanent – may not seem to offer a direct path to aspirational careers, they offer valuable work experience and the opportunity to acquire skills. 

Whether it’s a job as a sales assistant in retail, a warehouse operator in logistics or a trainee chef in hospitality, you will be sharing your knowledge and learning from others. As well as building technical, numerical and admin skills, these roles boost confidence and nurture soft skills, such as self-reliance, discipline, personal sensitivity and social awareness. 

This is a major advantage when applying for long-term careers in many sectors, from hospitality to health care. 

Whether you want to explore using your talents in an online position or kickstart your career a more traditional role, your one-stop-shop for new opportunities can be found at x1jobs.