Opinion: The Great Internship Debate: Should Interns Be Paid?
The job market is a competitive place for candidates without any work experience. For most students however, landing an internship during their time in school is necessary to compete with others like them who are entering the workforce after graduation. Internships offer students an invaluable opportunity to work in their chosen field of study in order to be more marketable. Despite these benefits, the question still remains: should all students be paid for the work they carry out during their internship?
Companies that pay their interns argue that they are making an investment in a potential future employee. Paid internships also offer companies with higher quality candidates that they can choose from. Although providing interns with a stipend might create budgetary constraints and limit the number (of interns) a company can afford to bring on board, payment, ensures that students are held to a higher caliber of work and outcomes during their internship period.
On the other hand, companies that do not pay their interns believe that it pays to work for free because the experience they will gain on the job, is payment enough. Students learn alongside professionals, capitalize on networking opportunities and build a working knowledge of their specialty for post graduation.
Yet, some disagree with the sentiment that experience is enough, and believe that companies hire unpaid interns as a way to save money from paying actual employees. Companies that fill their positions with interns in turn hurt the job market and do nothing to help many who are still unemployed. Filling actual positions with unpaid interns is illegal and exploits students. Students continue to fill these positions, however, out of the necessity of having an actual work experience in order to gain insights into the career pathway they have chosen to pursue.
Interns are a great asset for companies, bringing in fresh ideas and a willingness to learn. They allow companies to train future employees and teach them the necessary skills in order to be successful in the job market. Internships are also great opportunities for students, but with the college tuition bills and cost of living sky rocketing, paid internships may become imperative.
Do you think interns should be paid for their work? Tell me what you think in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich