Unpaid internships set students up for failure


Mohamed Hassan | Pxhere

Muhamet Hadzibrahimi

An unpaid internship provides college freshmen and sophomores with hands-on experience in a real workplace. This becomes a problem, however, when it is the only benefit they are receiving.

Unpaid internships should be banned immediately. College students face challenges every day, from growing their social network to keeping up their grades up to par. The stress of dedicating several hours a day to a job for no compensation should not be on this list.

Over 40% of internships offered by for-profit companies are unpaid, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review. Thus, companies who can afford to pay their interns are benefitting from a culture that assures students that they should not be compensated for internships.

Students also cannot opt out of working an internship if they want a shot at succeeding in most industries. Research by Chegg Internships indicates that 80% of employees at all big four accounting firms had some sort of internship experience prior to receiving a job offer.

According to a survey performed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, those who had unpaid internship experience gained the same amount of job offers as those who never had an internship.

Thus, recruiters cannot distinguish between paid and unpaid internships from a resume, meaning that the extra sacrifice an unpaid role necessitates is never recognized or rewarded. It is unethical to have employees perform tasks for free that they can be paid for elsewhere.

Unpaid internships are more unfair to students that are not financially supported by their parents, yet must take on an internship to better their future career prospects.

A survey from 2015 found that unpaid interns received a median salary of $34,000 for their first job, while paid interns received a salary upwards of $53,000. As expected, students forced to do work for free end up at companies that shamelessly deflate wages, whereas students who were paid for their work seek proportional compensation.

A college student should make a concerted effort to pursue paid internship opportunities in the fields they are most interested in. This way, they will not need to spare money and time for a company that values them at less than a salary.