“Entry level position, experience required.” It’s the age-old predicament that all of us will encounter one day regardless if we are just starting off in our careers or trying to make a career change. How does one get experience for an entry-level position, when it is an entry-level position and the applicant presumably wouldn’t have previous experience? One common answer is an by working an internship first. But not all internships are created equal.
A recent article on Aljazeera America discussed the often unspoken debate of if internships should be required to be paid. While pointing out that there are unpaid internships across all industries, the article drew attention to the fact that over half of nonprofit internships are unpaid compared to only 34% being unpaid in the for-profit sector.
There is no denying that internships are an excellent opportunity for an individual to gain job skills and get a foot in the door in a dog-eat-dog economy that is still trying to recover from the Great Depression. Is offering an unpaid internship unfair though by effectively eliminating those who cannot work for free and by taking advantage of those who can? Or if someone is capable and willing to work an unpaid internship, is that all that is needed to justify the interns unpaid work?
Aljazeera’s article pointed out that most of the work done by interns is very similar, if not identical, to that of paid workers. While some interns were grateful for the opportunity, other found themselves turned off by the experience altogether.
We want to know, do you think internships should be required to be paid? Would you work an unpaid internship? Have you worked an unpaid internship? If so, what was your experience like? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.