Should You Pay Your Student Intern?

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?


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