Now the above video is technically for America but I see no reason that it is not valid in India ( or any other country for that matter ) too. Now the video may feel quirky, snarky and lots of moral indignation ( basically that is how all “Adam Ruins Everything” videos are ), it contains the main message that “Don’t work for free”
Now let’s go through some of the points which are put forward for unpaid internships and counter them
- Interns can’t provide value and we have to invest time and resources on him/her:- This is the most stupid argument I have heard and this is also the main argument put forward. Interns can provide huge value to the company, as they are young and energetic and in most cases put in the extra effort than the rest of the employees. Yes, you may need to train them a bit, but that is true for any employee, not just an intern. No person whom you select will come on the first day and start contributing to your company. You may be using different frameworks, your work culture is different, your order of business is different. The reason you hire someone is that you know that yes if I invest in this employee now he may give higher value later on. If you are selecting the intern, it means he/she has already passed your requirements which involve different tests ( coding, aptitude, etc depending on your line of business )
- Unpaid internships will help you progress in your career:- This is another argument they put forward by telling that having that experience letter is good and will help you in progressing your career as you have “experience”. First of all most companies don’t care to that much extent whether a person has done an internship or not. They look at the skills, the knowledge, and the projects. Also, all of the reputable companies pay their intern so if you are not paying your intern, you are mostly just XYZ company for other’s and it would not matter to the recruiter that someone has done an internship at your place or not.
- There is nothing unfair about it and the intern can leave whenever he wants:- Now this is true in real but there is something called “internship credits” basically it is compulsory for you to do an internship for a required time to earn those credits and therefore for most people that is the only reason they are working for an unpaid internship.
- College did not teach them anything and now we have to teach and pay them!!:- Again a stupid argument, a college can’t teach everything to students they will be teaching the basics of something to students, and if you use this argument college has failed almost everyone ( even most teachers at IIT are not that good at teaching ) so by this logic, no intern should be paid. The students learn a lot of things on their own, and as they have passed your recruitment test and all it means they have sufficient knowledge. Also, technical skills are not the only thing which one gains in college, there are social skills, maturity, life-experiences, ways about how to handle stress, workload ( me remembering that I have 4 assignments due this week ). All of this also plays a very important role in every employee. Most colleges although may fail at the technical level teaches this ( well college doesn’t teach as much as college life but I feel like giving college some credit )
Now why should interns be paid:-
- They are giving their time to your company, working for you. They may be spending extra costs on food, traveling, accommodation.
- They definitely can bring new ideas and work on projects.
- An intern would certainly work harder if he/she was getting paid as the intern would feel like he needs to justify that ( interns are most likely to do this )
- It increases company loyalty and all the time you are training an intern, you may find yourself a new Employee and would help cut cost in hiring and training again a new person.
Now why unpaid internships should not exist:-
- Often most of these companies just want free labor and an intern may not learn anything meaningful and neither the company is incentivized to teach the intern anything meaningful as they are not paying him/her
- Many of these companies hire multiple interns and basically make them do a job an employee would have done and would have gotten paid.
This for students basically “don’t work for free”, work on a personal project. Research about the company before applying (glassdoor, indeed heck even quora ). If it is an NGO you may consider (although I don’t encourage this too, but it can be considered) it but only after completely verifying about the NGO. If enough students say “NO” to unpaid internships, companies will have to start paying their interns. Also, this issue needs to be raised.
The problem is (in India) there are no laws regarding interns therefore companies can exploit and get away from it. This sure can change where students took charge of it. You can read more about it over here.