About

What is this site about?
Unfair internships, all too often re-branded entry-level positions without a salary.

Why this blog?
I believe that all work that contributes to an organisation should be paid and that too many arguments in favour of unfair internships are bogus. I’ve looked on the web and couldn’t find a website dedicated to this issue, so I decided to start one on a week-end.

Who are you?
It doesn’t matter much. This blog is not about me, it’s about the issue. Plus, arguments on the Internet tend to get too personal a little too quick and I don’t want to be exposed to this. By any mean, I’m not an important person and there’s no political reason for me to keep my identity secret. It’s really just a matter of not wanting to. Maybe one day I will if I find it useful.

Are you an intern?
Not anymore, but I have been an intern twice in the past. Both internships were overall good experiences. In the first one, I was paid a little, I was receiving more training that I was working and I was registered at university so I “earned” credits and could even benefit from a scholarship. In the other, the job was extraordinary but I was underpaid as it clearly showed when my salary increased 4-fold when I went from “intern” to “staff” – always with the same responsibilities.

What are your projects for this blog?
I hope that this website will grow to become a useful resource for potential interns.

  • Articles from the media about organizations that have unfair practices
  • Resources. Listing of resources, by country, to question the legality of unfair internships

Can I contact you?
Yes, by email.

15 Responses to About

  1. Liberal Arts Dude says:

    Hello there

    A recent article from the Christian Science Monitor deals exactly with your topic

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0305/p13s01-wmgn.html

    LAD

  2. exintern says:

    Thanks LAD. I’ve just posted about it. The journalist had actually asked us to contribute, but we were away from our email account for too long to respond in time.

  3. Rosheen says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could help me out with an article I’m working on — I’m trying to find stats on the number of unpaid interns working at publishing houses in NYC. Do you have any idea where I could find such stats or at least educated guesses?

    Thanks SO much,
    Rosheen

  4. exintern says:

    Hi Rosheen,

    That’s a pretty pointed question. I wouldn’t expect to find statistics at this level. First, there doesn’t seem to be any official statistics on unpaid internships. Not surprising considering that many are illegal. Second, even if we started collecting any, I would be surprised if we’d start with a specific sector in a specific city like what you’re looking for. At best, you may find some private estimates from a university that has a lot of students in the field. Otherwise, I would recommend that you don’t spend too much of your time looking for this data.

    Sorry I can’t be of more help.

    Cheers, Ex Intern

  5. gradtogreat says:

    Hi –

    I am curious to know if your opinion of unpaid internships has changed due to the current global economic situation? And what is your thought about parents who are actually paying thousands of dollars to secure internships for their college kids? Here’s a link to what I am referring to. http://tinyurl.com/cz9byh

    Thanks!

    Anne B.
    GradtoGreat.com

  6. Liz N. New Business Owner says:

    I just wanted to offer my perspective as a small employer who is advertising for unpaid interns (although I am offering bonus potential).
    I was hoping to bring on a few interns to work part time over the summer, by offering much higher level work experience than they’re going to get anywhere else, as well as flexible hours & potential bonus money if they do a great job. I can’t afford to offer a salary (I don’t even pay myself). Your blog seems to assume that interns are “worth something”- but my experience is that they are worth very, very little. So unless I can get someone cheaply, I’ll just do it myself & another person gets to work at Burger King this summer….
    This is how I did the math: Let’s say my time is worth $35 an hour (I’m skilled). Their time is worth $10 an hour (they are relatively unskilled). Since they are new, untrained, and will need lots of feedback, it will take 2 hours of my time per day to work with them (if the internship is going to be of any value to them). So I’m -$70 per day for managing them, and they are +$80 for working.
    While it may seem like a scam from your perspective (and to be honest, when I was your age I definitely would have thought so to) it’s really just cost/ benefit analysis.
    That’s why there is such an imbalance of supply vs demand for internships- And why no one wants to pay them. In most fields it is just a charity to hire them at all. (I wanted to hire interns mostly just to practice my management skills if I’m really being honest). Like I said, when I was in college I would have thought it was a joke too, but now at age 30 & starting a business I see it all very differently.

    • tony longo says:

      Thanks! I have been running my own business for over 33 years, and am just looking to have a few people learn a SKILL or two. The kind of experience you read about is not the real world we all live in, and it seems like too many students think steak comes from a store and not a cow… I agree with this new business owner who wanted to hone his management skills. And I would like this web site to think about what it is doing. You are makeing people up set, and that only gets you clicks on your blog, which is how you pay your bills? Because, who ever they are they are, this blog looks like it will make sure jobs grow in China! Is that what you want? Jobs exported, and no work here in the USA? Sorry but I am worth more than $35 and hour with my skills and have found very few people that are willing to work, even for a wage, and many flake out, so interns could be one way to find people that want to work, and get real life JOB work experience! Sorry dude, but Mommy and Daddy don’t pay for everything after college, that’s why we have such a high unemployment rate!

  7. Jennifer says:

    To Liz N.,

    I completely understand where you are coming from. It does take time and patience to train someone that will, in the long run, benefit your company.

    However, I think the true question that this site is addressing is “what is the difference between a new employee and an intern?” Internships are meant to be learning opportunities and should not be free replacements for actual employees. In the United States, that practice is illegal. However, it seems to be a normal part of our society today.

    I suppose my question for you, and other employers out there in your situation, is if you sense that interns are worth “very little” than why are you taking them on? Because, to be truthful, an internship where my supervisor considers my work and time to be of little use and value, is not a particularly gratifying and useful internship to have.

    Additionally, I think your cost/benefit analysis is failing to take into account two things:

    1. The intern will, hopefully, provide some benefit to your company that you currently can not provide
    2. You will most likely need to supervise them less and less as the internship progresses

    Clearly, I do not know your particular business situation. However, I urge you to really examine why you wish to have an intern.

    • Liz N. New Business Owner says:

      Thanks for your comments Jennifer & Exintern- I’ve actually been very impressed by the interns I’ve interviewed so far and I think they might not require as much supervision as I previously expected (we’ll see!). I hope my plan of offering a bonus with excellent performance is a good compromise between being completely unpaid & having a salary-type position. That way, I’ll be able to judge later on in the internship how much value they created for my company & hopefully this will help in motivating them to really do their best.
      I’ve been surprised at how hard it is to tell if someone is going to be a good employee or not in an interview. It’s especially hard because all the prospective interns have virtually no employment history & very little in the way of real references (their professors don’t really know them). That’s biggest reason why I’m not willing to offer a fixed salary- I’m just not able to predict how much they’ll be able to handle & if they’ll be able to do a good job. So leaving it to be flexible seems like a good compromise.
      I’ll post back in a month or so & let you both know how it’s going!

    • tony longo says:

      You are not really understanding how it works. If it is done within the law, your internship needs to be for your benefit. If you are doing work that is a real job, then ask for real pay, the point of and intern is to get out country out of the dumps by getting people ready to work, and stop sucking off their parents bottle. Please look up and you’ll see this is a real issue, not because people are looking for internships, but because jobs are going to places where people have skills.

      COPYRIGHT © 2010 EFFICIENT ENTERPRISES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

      The Six Criteria for an Intern to be Unpaid Are:

      #1 The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the
      employers, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
      #2 The training is for the benefit of the student.
      #3 The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close
      observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
      #4 The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from
      the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be
      impeded by the training.

      Why not look up the laws in your area pertaining to Internships, it under your State’s labor code, if someone is using people without pay, there are a few very specific rules. So why have your site without telling people about the law so they can defend themselves if they are being taken advantage of… are you a student writing a blog? As an intern? Each state has it own labor laws, but the Feds protect everyone in all 50 states, so again, if people are following the rules of having interns in their companies, where is the problem? I help people cross the street, I feed the poor, I give to all sorts of charities, and now… I am lookin ginto having an intern program…. it is what I do to give back to the community so people have hope and stay out of gangs… and the military.

  8. exintern says:

    Thanks Liz N. for sharing your experience. Jennifer has represented well what this blog is about and how it addresses your situation. If you hire the interns because you expect them to help you, it is evidence that they provide value and that they should be paid. If they are worthless and require your constant supervision, then it really is a training and you may be justified not to have to pay them, granted that the situation respects the conditions laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  9. ngowatching says:

    Please follow http//insidetheicd.wordpress.com – a site about a specific internship program in Berlin, Germany.

    Warm regards,

    NGOW

    • tony longo says:

      This was a dead end…. go to a port hole for? http//insidetheicd.wordpress.com does not have a german internship… or if it is on this site is was pulled, or you have to go through many links to get to it… or search it? …. you gave a link, there was no article.

  10. mj says:

    hi,

    i have a related site and would like to share links. contact me via my email if you are interested.

  11. Keep this site up and running! I support this initiative to pay interns for their work..

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