1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to post, make friends, earn reward points at our store, remove most ads and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

What are your thoughts on unpaid internships?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by jmattbassplaya, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Here's a question for you guys that found its origin from this thread:

    What are your thoughts on unpaid internships? Should they exist? Are they exploitive of the interns who do them?

    *note* I'm talking about unpaid internships from a general standpoint. The thread I linked is merely an example and should not be used as the central focal point for this thread.
  2. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    If the person wants to do it and is not being forced against their will, I see nothing wrong with it. If they are being co-erced in some way then working someone without pay is wrong, imo.
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    It's really a case by case thing. In the business world an internship is a great way to get experience and learn what really goes on in the workplace, which a lot of students may be clueless about. I interned at a studio after college, and I learned a TON, not just about the audio stuff, but about general studio management and business practices. And that internship led to a lot of paid work for me. But there are places who take advantage of interns just for the free labor, and they don't really teach them anything. There's supposed to be an exchange of knowledge for labor. When that's not there than it's a bad deal.
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I would love to be able to staff my business with unpaid interns.
    The only problem is, I don't know what I would have people that have no skills do.
    I wish we could bring back apprenticeships. I started my carrier as a apprentice.
    I would like to have two or three young people that wanted to learn a trade and I would like to be able to pass on to them the things I have learned in my 40+ years of doing it.
    With the minimum wage so high and workers comp through the roof It just isn't feasible.
  5. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    They're a crock of ****

    Someone with money preying on someone who doesn't
  6. JimB52

    JimB52 User Gold Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I started my career with an internship. For me, the real payoff of a college education is getting a good internship. I was unpaid for about a week, then got paid for the hours I worked in addition to the 20 hr/week internship.
    The interns at my current job are paid $400 / week for "expenses." I think having interns do regular paid employees work ran the company into some trouble, so they started paying them. Out of the 80 or so that come through each year, about 5 or 6 might be offered full time positions.
  7. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    Minimum wage is to high?

  8. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    They CAN be, doesn't mean they are as a rule. There are things that simply can't be learned in a classroom. A proper internship will get a person across the gap from theoretical knowledge to practical application.
  9. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Yes it is.
    For someone with no skills.
    When a employer has to double their ssdi, and pay their workers comp.
    For what is costs a business to hire a unskilled worker they can hire a person that is already schooled and trained.

    A high minimum wage hurts the unskilled.
  10. In my field (Mental Health), paid internships are unheard of. My Master's is in an Education field (Counselor Education), and those internships are virtually also unpaid. An internship was required for my Master's as well as my Bachelor's. If I wanted the degrees, I had to do the internships. Yeah, it sucked, but I knew it going in. :atoz:
  11. My experience in the legal field has made me very aware of the use and abuse of unpaid interns to perform substantive work on par with highly paid employees. It is often alluded to as "indentured servitude" and ridiculed in various media.

    For the most part internships give great experience, potential job opportunities and exposure in a field or job that someone may not otherwise be able to enter into. More often than not in my experience, I have seen the majority of internships being unpaid, and having interns do a substantial amount of real work that probably deserves some form of compensation, even if it is a stipend of sorts.

    Although internships in law school are not officially mandatory, they really are required and you would be a fool not to participate in numerous throughout school. The issue that arises is that the vast majority of internships are unpaid only, especially in this economy. Furthermore, in the legal field it is very tough to get a job from an internship, at least nowadays.

    In a tough economy and with business trying to save money however they can, unpaid interns are a great resource I suppose. It's definitely a give and take.
  12. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    College Station, TX
    I like my boss's philosophy: "You pay for your interns' quality." Having worked with both paid and unpaid interns I'm inclined to agree.
  13. MuinXing


    Aug 24, 2012
    I think it should be treated as a form of tax evasion.

    I know technically it's not what it is, but it has some similar connotations.

    It can be ok for the individual.

    But typically bad for society. It's either gonna force people living on their own into debt, or give a unfair advantage to those that are wealthy enough to live for free.
  14. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I think there should be far more unpaid (or minimal pay) internships and far less years spent in college education.

    In most cases, anyway. Some jobs certainly require skills that you can only get from university style learning, but in today's world I think it is a much more effective method to train people to do the job, at their job, rather than teach them a broad set of unnessecary skills and then teach them mostly on the job after the fact anyway. I think internships should also be treated as a pathway into a job or a career, which is generally how it works in Australia. You pick up an unpaid internship for a few weeks, and if it works out companies will often hire you at a lower intern or cadetship wage, as well as cover the costs of your future university education.

    This ensures that their employees are trained the way they need, rather than picking up people first year out of university, having to pay them a full wage, and having to pretty much entirely retrain them anyway.

    I get the impression that it is a vastly different situation in the US to what we have here in Australia, and it appears that it's not uncommon for interns to be chewed up as free labour and spat out, which is far from what internships are intended for in my opinion. I believe that behaviour is an attitude not uncommon within the corporate world, treating people as resources that come and go, livestock work units to do with what you will and replace as soon as you can find a more cost effective option. I think it's pretty atrocious actually, but it's a widespread issue outside of internships, they just happen to get the brunt of it, being unpaid and all.

    In Australia a vast majority of businesses are still small businesses, not big time corporate stuff. People are treated entirely different in this sort of environment, they're people, not numbers.

    I believe the obsession with college and university education has gone too far, far too far. We're taught as kids that you NEED to go to university, that it's necessary to get a good job, everybody is pushed towards being a white collar paper pushing worker. So you end up with a huge amount of kids who leave high-school and jump straight into university, where they bum around for a few years and then maybe come out with a piece of paper that shows they have some sort of qualification in something which will get them a "high paying job". Truth is, if they went and started working at that same job 4 or 6 years ago, they'd be much more qualified and able than they are with a university degree.

    University has its place, but I think there should be much more of a balance between the two styles of learning. A lot more on the job and practical education, where you actually learn to do your job, supplemented with some university or college education to fill any gaps and broaden your skill set a little.

    We've had interns work for us, quite often from overseas, and all we do is provide accomodation. They generally work hard, learn lots, have a great time and everybody comes off better than how they started out. I'd be more than willing to offer our current intern a full time job and sponsorship into the country if she was interested in moving here for a long period of time, and plan make it a standing offer before she leaves.
  15. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    And spending 4+ years in college is somehow better for society? Either kids parents pay for them, or they have to put themselves hugely into debt with the hopes of earning a lot of money later to pay it back.
  16. It's better for the pockets of select individuals.
  17. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Sad, but true. From what I've heard, I get the impression that the US has this worse than a lot of other places, but Australia is wasting no time in following suit.

    I found out recently from a friend who works for an employment agency that the University of Melbourne now charge you to advertise job vacancies at the university. Only a small thing, but it gives an indication of what their goals are, and getting people out of university and employed isn't as higher priority as other things..