I keep reading articles and hearing peoples opinions of unpaid internships since I started my placement year. Mainly because people like to comment on my situation & also because with the current difficulty for young people & graduates to find employment there are lot more articles being written about it.
One of the articles I read was by Victoria Pynchon from Forbes.com called “Note to Gen-Y – You Do Not Have To Work For Free” I really liked this article because there is nothing more true than her second point: As Interns we make money for our employers.
I have been told countless times since I started my placement that I am investing in my future. And yes this is partially true – however I have been taking on unpaid internships and ‘investing’ in my future for the last 2 years. Isn’t it time for someone to start investing in me?
My placement is listed as paid. I earn £100 per week. £20 a day. £2.50 per hour.
It covers my £12 daily commute & my lunch.
Now I had the option to take a paid placement that would give me £16,000 for the whole 12 months. I had a choice and I spoke about turning down this Job Offer in April of this year.
Because I made the choice and I picked working with a great team of people over earning money I have accepted what I earn.
I am living at home & have my phone bill paid and have minimal outgoing costs. I also have a second job & worked hard before this placement and have money in my bank account.
However I do object to companies paying such a small amount to interns. If you are someone with no experience then unpaid internships are sometimes the only option & there is nothing wrong with them if you are treated well & respected. In fact I do believe taking on an unpaid internship if just for a week to 2 months is very worthwhile as you learn a lot about a company and either how great they are but you may also learn how someone should not treat their interns.
However I disagree to companies that offer Graduate Interships even though a majority of people who apply have a fair amount of experience that means they would be able to do a full time job. Once I graduate I shall have completed 3 Internships & many unpaid jobs in the events industry – I personally feel I will have enough experience to work in a full time job.
My biggest questions is why companies do not offer to pay the NMW & give full time jobs to interns who can showcase they have relevant and up to date experience? Why instead of taking on students for 3 months at a time don’t companies take on graduates for a year with a good start out salary? Aren’t we meant to be investing in the new generation of professionals?
Mireille Silcoff article on the National Post.com raises some good questions about the culture of Internships. “You work for free so you can later get a good job. There are fewer good jobs because of all the people working for free.”
And I especially like Tanya De Grunwalds, from Graduate Fog, quote from the Guardians article about how Tony Blair was using unpaid interns.