Unpaid Internships? No Such Thing

May 18, 2008

Sounds like pure denial? Well, maybe it is. The rationale is that since you gain experience, your internships is paid. Then, will someone explain to me who doesn’t gain experience in a job?

Anyway, Business Week has a debate about unpaid internships under this title. Go contribute.


Why You Should Pay Your Intern

May 3, 2008

Please bookmark this one: accountants explain to the world why interns should be paid. I’m not offended that they argue from the perspective of the employer, quite the opposite. The rule that providing better wages gets you better staff is pretty much accepted everywhere – everywhere that does not offer and unfair internship, that is.

Some good stats:

In a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly all responding organizations who use their internship programs as part of their college recruiting effort pay their interns.

And why not mention that interns themselves get more out it:

NACE’s study of the students from the Class of 2007 found that students who reported dissatisfaction with their internships tended to be in unpaid programs.

And what do they mean by “paid”? A stipend to buy a muffin, a coffee and a bus ticket (one-way) maybe? Not so:

Overall, employers reported offering their undergraduate interns an average of $16.33 per hour — and nearly $25 per hour for interns at the master’s degree level.

The data is aligned with the law which is aligned with ethics which are aligned with progress. Now that’s an opportunity your business won’t want to miss.

Should You Pay Your Student Intern?

May 2, 2008

Any serious article that looks closely into this question comes to the same conclusion: unless you’re in the business of training people because you’re a nice person, then you should pay your staff, be they called interns, employees, associates or GOs. Business Week comes to the same conclusion. Money quote:

“You just have to remember that, unless you are interested in really offering training to somebody in the field, you are not going to get cheap labor.”

Needless to say, the arguments of those who don’t pay their staff are weak:

“There are an abundance of students who want that type of hands-on client experience.”

Thankfully, the US law is not so naive:

In a recent InternBridge survey of 12,084 students who completed internships in 2007, 18% said they didn’t receive compensation or receive college credit for their services. “That’s flat-out illegal,” Bottner says.

And one more nail in the coffin of credits-for-pay schemes:

Complicating matters, some employers ask that the student receive college credit for their work in order to avoid having to pay them, a demand that puts students from low- or middle-income backgrounds at a disadvantage. It means students have to pay their college for that course credit, a cost that can add up to several thousand dollars.

They use the word “model” rather than “scheme”, but they are saying the same thing as this blog:

It’s a model that is becoming increasingly controversial within the higher education community, where career-services professionals say students should be paid at least minimum wage.

Is it clear enough now?