For Fair Internships


Photographs courtesy of Giang Nguyen

The idea of an internship is to work and gain experience for when you go out into the “real world.” Often times people who work for these internships have to pay the company to start working without getting paid at all, or they get paid less than minimum wage. Maybe interns get minimum wage if they are lucky. 

Sometimes people work 40 hours a week or more and don’t even get paid a single dime. These are the people who are still expected to provide for themselves and pay for travel to and from internships. Despite the fact that an internship is not exactly equivalent to being hired for a company itself and exists only to get the intern experience, it is a severe abuse of power to work for a company and not be able to gain benefits from “employers” because the experience “should be enough.” At the end of the day, the work that the intern is doing is labor that the company does not have to pay for. If one is not being paid for work, then what is the point of calling it an internship when it is basically volunteering one’s time just to gain experience?  

Of course, the problem with internships is not just in the flaw of the internship; it also lies in the process of getting hired. The experience that is granted is not guaranteed to give someone a job unless they gain years of experience. Often times jobs ask for several years of experience before they even think of asking for an interview, let alone read the rest of the resume. Internships only provide someone with months of experience; how can someone be expected to get a job with a few months of experience when jobs ask for years? Companies shouldn’t expect everyone to have accumulated several years of experience when many people coming out of college barely have any experience, aside from working at a minimum wage job. Employers should give those who have no experience, or intern experience, the chance to be hired and get their foot in the door to gain this experience.  

Overall, internships and the hiring process are skewed systems that need to be changed in order to be fair to people. Obviously, the workforce is going to be competitive regardless. However, fair hiring and paid internships would give people the incentive necessary to work harder to keep the job or to be granted the ability to get the job in the first place.