Some call them ‘giving back to society’, some call them ‘must-do to get a job’. I call them ‘abusive’ and ‘exploiting graduates’. Yes, as you might have realised by now I am not a fan of unpaid internships and I stand by it. I am not sure the Editor of Career Geek would allow this post to get published, but if it does, then it would be for the greater good of society!
Alison Davies previously wrote an article about Unpaid Internships, telling us how a lot more graduates would be happy to do unpaid internships to get work experience if they could only afford it.
The argument has always been about the good versus bad of unpaid internships and whether it’s ethical or not for companies to use such a practice. Have you ever noticed how the people advocating unpaid internships are those who have jobs and probably have a £3.99 lunch consisting of a sandwich, crisps and a drink, not by graduates and students who can barely afford a pasty from local street bakers.
Firstly, asking people with jobs about unpaid internships is like asking my dad to comment on IE8. My first question would be: “have you used it”? Why would you suggest using IE8 only after reading blogs and using the information on the internet? Try using it and see how ridiculously useless it it. It’s the same thing with unpaid internships – if you haven’t done one and if you are on an above-the-average salary, then STOP telling graduates they should take up unpaid internships.
Do employers think unpaid internships cost nothing? Yes, unpaid internships cost nothing to an employer, but they do to graduates and students.
- A shirt from Next £22
- Trousers from Next £25
- Formal shoes and socks £30
- Travel £5 / day
- Living cost £400 pm rent
- Bills £150 pm
Go on, add these and tell me if you can afford to go one month without earning yet paying these costs without any stress? How can you expect graduates and students to cover living costs while doing unpaid internships?
I know work experience is important, but why can’t employers pay at least a national minimum wage to our graduates and students? Are we not to support our youth?
If you are a charity or a start-up, then you may have some points to argue for volunteers and unpaid work-experience. But multi-million profit making organisations are exploiting students and graduates by offering unpaid internships. Stop abusing the word internship – when all you offer is unpaid work.
Disappointed that unpaid work is even an option for graduates and students. Unfair that young people have been left to the dogs again – personally I am against unpaid internships and think the practice should be abandoned.
I am glad that Career Geek supports and agrees in principle with the intentions of The Internship Project. I hope a lot more career blogs and advisors start pushing the society towards paying graduates and students for the work they do.