Comment 88366

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted May 03, 2013 at 18:19:21 in reply to Comment 87041

A 2008 study found that 50 per cent of university graduates in the United States had completed internships, up from 17 per cent in 1992. As they become more common, employers increasingly know that a single posting will attract dozens of applicants. Why should they shell out hard-earned cash to pay someone who will do the work for free?

Unpaid internships may be good for an individual young person, and they are certainly good for employers who get free labour – but they are bad for society as a whole.

Unpaid internships skew the job market, so it is the wealthiest, not the most qualified, who are able to apply. To work without pay requires other sources of income, either from parents, or by working at another job. This isn’t just bad for most people who are unable to work for free, it is also bad for employers who are cutting out many qualified applicants whose parents are not wealthy enough to provide support....

Young people looking for work this summer have two options. We can work at job-jobs in the retail, food service and hospitality industries and get paid, or we can take unpaid work in industries where we hope to get paid work in the future.

Some of this unpaid work is illegal, most is immoral, and almost all is damaging to the economy as a whole. There are very specific circumstances wherein young people do not need to be paid to work. Employers who can pay should and the government should investigate unscrupulous employers and enforce existing laws.

A stronger, fairer society would be one in which young people got paid to work, just like everyone else.

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