How do you feel about unpaid internships?


Apparently Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization is looking for an unpaid intern to work there. Ms. Sandberg made a measly $92,000,000, but you know, times are tough, so there isn’t enough left over to pay some intern $10 an hour. I used to be ok with unpaid internships, viewing them as more as an opportunity for an unskilled but potentially talented individual to develop some practical skills and experience. I’ve changed my view, frankly, and now see it as a way for companies to get free labor. What do you think? Are unpaid internships a valuable learning experience or a way to exploit young people?

Topic: Business
Answer this Question


3 total
Christopher Nerney
Vote Up (12)

A company that is highly profitable and pays its executives enormous salaries should be able to pay an intern some amount of money. Free labor in return for "valuable experience" is often a recipe for exploitation.

Vote Up (10)

In theory, a bright unpaid intern gets to learn valuable job skills in a mentored environment where they would otherwise be unqualified to work, making them more valuable to potential future employees. This may actually happen for some people, but in my personal experience, many interns are viewed as employees that you don’t have to pay who can do all the menial tasks that no one else wants to do. Also, with the cost of college continuing its upward spiral, unpaid internships just make it harder for students to afford school. A summer as an unpaid intern means the loss of the income that would have came with a traditional summer job, even a poorly paying one. Personally, I think that there should be at least minimum wage compensation for interns. Kudos to companies that do internships right, though.

Vote Up (8)

Interns have bills, just like the full time employees. Some sort of reasonable stipend should be included as part of the position. No, it doesn't have to make the intern rich but fair compensation for work performed is the only just thing to do.

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
The spy accusations between the US and China are screwing up the deal.
If you gave up cable TV in favor of Aereo, get ready to make it up to your cable guy
It seems like the selection of content accessible via our streaming devices improves every week.
New research into the reasons for software compilation errors at Google helps to reveal ways to improve developer productivity
Amazon’s new smartphone can track your head movements; what could go wrong?
Thanks to Chinese regulators, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia may have cost more than just the $7.2 billion sticker price.
When two big companies go at it publicly, we all win
Your social media activity can reveal more about you than you think
Want to see how that coffee machine looks on your counter before you buy it? A crop of startups see a business in helping you visualize.
You'll be able to share ad revenue with Nintendo (and Google) once you're in the program.
Join us: