“We should get rid of unpaid internships. The children of the new upper class hardly ever get real jobs during summer vacation. It amounts to career assistance for rich, smart children. Those from the middle and working class, struggling to pay for college, can’t afford to work for free. Internships pave the way for children to move seamlessly from their privileged upbringings to privileged careers without ever holding a job that is boring or physically demanding.”
“Sixty-one percent of paid interns working at for-profit companies received a job offer; only 38 percent of unpaid interns working at for-profit companies did. And paid interns netted higher starting salaries.”
The economics of unpaid internships are obvious. Employers are desperate for cheap work, and “free” is pretty cheap. Workers are desperate for, well, anything, and students and recent grads are willing to negotiate their wages down to zero. But the ethics aren’t so clear-cut. If unpaid internships are the key to better jobs and bigger salaries, should we be concerned about the millions of lower-class students who can’t afford to work for free?
Yesterday, I asked you to tell me your experiences and opinions about unpaid internships. Hundreds of you responded.