We got this email from a non-intern- priced out of her chosen industry’s employment market…
Simply put, I believe internships are only a viable option for people from high socio-economic backgrounds. I cannot afford to do free work and I will be made to suffer for it as an employer will value the 3 month admin internship one student has completed, over my 2 years of paid employment in a retail environment, just because they could take the time and money to do it in the first place.
The counter argument may be that an employer will recognise my hard work and dedication anyway? However, in my experience companies demand specific kinds of work experience. You don’t get experience if someone does not give you a chance to learn but you guessed it, they won’t give you that chance without previous experience. Thus, I expect, this vicious circle continues to haunt many other young people like me.
My friend managed to get an internship in the heart of international politics, Washington D.C. I was of course very proud of her but at the same time envious she could afford it in the first place. She will have the edge over any other competitor in future job applications having had this fantastic opportunity, whereas I, being a mere political geek and fanatic, will probably get yet another rejection email. Or I may get ignored completely as “due to high demand we will only respond to applicants requested for interview”. A thoroughly sad and pathetic image of me eagerly refreshing hotmail for months on end as I remain totally nonethewiser comes to mind.
Companies like hiring free workers, (Well that’s no surprise) but the idea of free labour is absurd. However, our government is allowing them to get away with it! Even Nick Clegg has been criticised for getting an unpaid intern. (Come on Nick, haven’t you done enough to make young people dislike you?!) If a company needs the manpower then they should pay for the labour and not fob it off as ‘work experience’. Shame on them.
So to shape all my ranting into some discernable argument, internships are a way for companies to get free admin done and as a result, employers now give it a status on a young person’s CV that those that cannot afford to work for free, are penalized for not having.