We received this account of the difficulties one (and many) architecture graduates are facing.
In architecture, some practices will only take you on if you work for free. Others pay very little and insist on very long hours, which works out as less than the minimum wage.
This has repercussions for the whole industry and social mobility. The only people who can live in London and work for free for months out of uni are those who have rich parents.
It also de-values everyone else who works in the industry. You can’t get a job unless you waive your European working hours rights. Saying that you are willing to work over the maximum for no extra pay. If you don’t agree, you don’t get a job, it’s simple. If you agree, you work weekends, evenings and nights sometimes till 3 in the morning, back in at 9 the next day, no thanks, no bonuses, no extra cash, no time off in lieu. If you ask for these things, you are seen as a woos who cant take the pace, you are belittled in the workplace, or given a bad reputation by your employers.
This is bad practice that has to stop- it comes from the cult of the internship, as big firms who have many unpaid staff can bid for contracts asking for a lower fee. The developers now expect such low fees that the whole industry is pressured by it.
We look down on overseas sweatshop labour but we need to have a close look on our doorstep.
I had to leave the industry because I refuse to be exploited. I was very good at what I did, with great grades. I do not think that the debt I am in as a result of studying is worth it at all.