At what age should I encourage my kids to go out and find a job (be it part-time or full-time) and start to earn some money and have a taste of what working life is like?
If you want, this can start very early. You can "employ" them yourself for chores that are outside of the scope that you expect. These first jobs will help them understand that they can earn extra if they are prepared to work for it.
Note based on comments below:
By definition, "chores" are understood to be mandatory tasks to be done without payment. What I am aiming at in this answer is that kids can perform tasks that exceed their assigned chores.
Eventually the kids will grow into the age where these extra tasks become the norm, and then the payment should stop - and by then there will be new "extra" tasks they can do instead.
When they're old enough that you can teach them how to --
- rake leaves,
- shovel the snow away from the entrance,
- operate the vacuum cleaner, etc.
then teach them proper operation and tell them what goal you expect. Pay them according to how well they achieved the goal.
Torben's answer is a fantastic answer. I'm not sure how realistic it is to think that a child who is younger than a teenager is going to be able to get a "real" job what with child labor laws and whatnot. I've had students as young as 15 with part-time after-school jobs, but they had to have their parent's written permission. You might want to check with your country's/state's laws regarding employment of minors before you start pushing your child too hard.
From what I have seen with my students, many teenagers (15 years and up) really want to go out and find a job so they can make their own money and not have to depend on their parents for everything. It's almost a rite of passage here. You can certainly encourage your child to find other small jobs that will earn him/her money before he/she is legally able to go find a job working for a company. Besides earning money around the house, perhaps offering his/her services in the fall to rake the leaves of people in the neighborhood, shovel the walkways/driveways, babysit, etc. Obviously ensure that he/she can accomplish these tasks well first before offering the services to other people. You want to reinforce not only doing a job, but doing it well, and if he/she doesn't do a good job he/she won't be asked to repeat the task.
Start when they are young(4 or 5) by giving them a little for house chores. Around 9-10 Get them to do a paper route. When they hit 12 or 13 let them do a babysitting course and learn first aid and then offer for them to babysit the neighbours, family or friends kids . When they turn 15 get them to get a part time job after school or weekend job. Once they hit 16 every summer should be full time work for at least a month or two.
I personally believe kids should start at an early age. What I mean by this is parents should encourage their children to save early through pocket money given for certain jobs performed at home. For example, if they do the washing for you and perform other tasks for an hour or a few, give them a nice allowance to encourage them to continue with it in future!
This is a great start for children and will encourage them to look for work in future, knowing they will be rewarded for their hard work and commitment.
Moreover; making use of a piggy bank as suggested by this blog post about teaching children to save and spend would encourage them to save and use that money when well accumulated.
We started our kids earning money early - 4 to 5 years old for doing jobs extra to their regular chores around the house at a few pennies per job. At 7, my son mows the grass with a lot of assistance for $10.00 (compared to $40.00+ if I were to hire it done). By 12 my daughter was freelancing wedding videos. We try to pay market rates for work our kids do, and encourage them to seek (an be worthy of) market rates for work they o outside the house.
We don't pay for regular chores.
I personally believe kids as young as 12 should start to work part-time after school jobs. Kids this age are about to go into high school or already are. They are learning responsibilities and want to earn money. Some kids don’t get pocket money so working part-time will let them earn what they would like to have.