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Unpaid internships: Where do you stand?

Published: Wednesday, 18 April 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

The lack of fairness regarding unpaid internships is a topic that has led to much discussion lately between employers and interns. A website which has been exposing well-known companies who offer unpaid internships has recently added further fuel to the fire.

 

A recent campaign entitled ‘Pay your interns’, which was started by the Graduate Fog blog, has re-ignited the battle for improved internship conditions on behalf of struggling graduates.

 

The campaign aims to “name-and-shame the big brands that are too tight to pay their hard-working interns the wages they deserve”, according to the site.

 

It publishes data about numerous high street businesses which offer unpaid or very low paid internships that the site argues is “undermining the link between pay and work.”

 

Some of the companies who are featured on the website have since responded and are said to be ‘disappointed’.

 

Roifield Brown, founder of Myvillage, stated recently in The Guardian that complaining interns will shut the door for those who need experience. “I've offered many interns valuable experience, but these opportunities may come to an end,” he warned.

 

Angry employers, angry interns

 

While many young Brits feel the graduate positions they have worked for have been valuable, there is also a high number of graduates who experienced months of work for no money (not even expenses) in exchange.

 

The current financial crisis is obviously not helping the situation either. While many companies can’t afford to pay their interns, graduates see themselves in a situation in which they are actually losing money (in transport and food expenses) for work experience that sometimes does not even meet their expectations.

 

“Like other companies, Myvillage has struggled during the downturn with massively reduced revenue. While lacking the means to employ experienced writers, I was able to offer and share experience, which is why we ran an intern programme last year,” continued Mr Brown.

 

What do you think about unpaid graduate opportunities? Are they worth the time and effort?

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