By Sanjukta Das Bhowmick
Why does such a thing even exist?
Internships are mostly aimed at giving students a real-life work experience while they are still completing their education. Internships have a double purpose of giving a hands-on training and also provide remuneration for their services provided.
Unpaid internships, on the other hand, employ individuals, get the work done, without having to spend a single penny. Though it is highly profitable for the company, it affects the students adversely.
In such a case, the students have to look for a paid job elsewhere to support themselves. So balancing studies, an unpaid internship and a job at the same time is going to kill you.
That said, unpaid internships only benefit those that are already privileged and do not need fending for themselves.
In many cases unpaid internships work as an extension of the classroom, they ask you for academic credits. So you do not get paid and above that, you are expected to maintain an all-time excellent track record.
Some might argue, that interning, whether you get paid or not doesn’t matter as long as you increase your networking and connections, but hey bro, I can increase my networking in other ways.
At least let me see some cash at the end of all the hard work I’m putting in.
The Hidden Truth
There are cases when students have found out after joining the internship, that they were asked to do various other kinds of (read personal jobs) in addition to the one they had signed up for. Now, this is plain wrong.
Internships are crucial for a company as it lets them search for the best talent in the market and constantly improve their workforce. But it is not so good for the intern, for their talents to be exploited without any sufficient return.
You’re No-One Basically!
An unpaid intern does not have any respect within the company. No one gives two hoots about him/her. So you’ll be a faceless person in the structure.
In her speech to the UCLA students, even Hillary Clinton voiced her dissent against the whole culture of unpaid internships. And she gives pretty good reasons- first, there is no entry-level position when looked at realistically.
Secondly, there is no on-the-job training. So the businesses are just using the fresh young labour forces without having to give anything in return.
This creates a huge economic divide because it is only the rich kids who can afford to do an unpaid internship, flaunt it later on their CVs and get hired.
The other bunch of students, on the other hand, cannot afford an unpaid internship and thus they remain as fresher when they go on to apply for jobs.
The social inequality has also exacerbated this system of unpaid internships. People from privileged backgrounds fill up the key positions, thus creating a major block for the others to secure their own niche.
That’s What They Say!
The most common argument that the companies provide when justifying unpaid internships is that it will either end up in a paid job or give one push up when they go on to apply for jobs.
But as the 2013 survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has shown it is not so. The difference is very less in employment outcomes between individuals who have an unpaid internship experience and those who do not have any.
The percentage of paid interns landing a job is 63.1, while that of the unpaid ones is 31. This study has discovered that having an unpaid internship will only matter about1.8% than not having any.
Chill, You Will Earn
So there you go, with all the facts and figures. If you have it in you, you will get a job. There is no use doing an unpaid internship unless the need is very pressing.
Unpaid internships are not seen as lucrative by students. Hence the ones that do take it up, the talent pool gets very restricted.
Paid internships, on the other hand, increase the overall economic growth of the company too.
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