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View Poll Results: Should internships receive some form of compensation (pay)?
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Yes, interns should be paid something 7 votes (77.78%)
No, interns should be paid for their time 2 votes (22.22%)
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll
Unpaid Internships
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Games Meister
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:54 AM
 
Subject that I've seen making the news occasionally the past few years and it seems like perfect fodder for a poll. Should interns be paid?

I myself did an internship in college. It is a little disconcerting to have to pay (for the credits) to work for someone for free, but to their credit most of my internship was focused on finding a non-profit to do probono work for (However there were a few times I did work for the company that benefited them directly).
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 11:38 AM
 
We occasionally end up with them here and for the most part they are completely useless. Not that they are dumb kids, but for the amount of time they are here, they never really get a chance to learn anything useful and then apply it.

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Aug 21, 2013, 12:14 PM
 
No, they should not be paid. They are earning experience in their chosen field. I believe in transportation and lunch for them, though.
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Aug 21, 2013, 12:18 PM
 
If the interns are getting college credit, then they shouldn't be paid. Otherwise, it's between the employer and the interns. The market for a particular career should determine whether interns are paid, and it usually will if left to its own devices. For example, interns at not-for-profits such as museums and other social organizations shouldn't be paid b/c it's good practice for when they get a "real" job at such institutions b/c those "real" jobs pay almost nothing too.

So many college students these days have never held a job of any kind, so giving them work experience (plus a network, references) is a gift from the employer. When I went to college, everyone I knew had worked at least 2 or 3 jobs, sometimes real jobs, before getting to their junior year of college. This wasn't universally true, but it was much, much more common than it is now.

One more thing: many employers won't offer internships anymore unless they are for credit. Some of the big investment banks are real sticklers about this because of Department of Education enforcement and lawsuits.
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Aug 21, 2013, 01:05 PM
 
oops! what happened?
The intern did it!
( Last edited by osiris; Aug 21, 2013 at 02:26 PM. )
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Aug 21, 2013, 02:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
If the interns are getting college credit, then they shouldn't be paid. Otherwise, it's between the employer and the interns. The market for a particular career should determine whether interns are paid, and it usually will if left to its own devices. For example, interns at not-for-profits such as museums and other social organizations shouldn't be paid b/c it's good practice for when they get a "real" job at such institutions b/c those "real" jobs pay almost nothing too.

So many college students these days have never held a job of any kind, so giving them work experience (plus a network, references) is a gift from the employer. When I went to college, everyone I knew had worked at least 2 or 3 jobs, sometimes real jobs, before getting to their junior year of college. This wasn't universally true, but it was much, much more common than it is now.

One more thing: many employers won't offer internships anymore unless they are for credit. Some of the big investment banks are real sticklers about this because of Department of Education enforcement and lawsuits.


scare quotes, complaining about how easy the young have it these days, and bringing govt into it. It's a hat trick!
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 02:44 PM
 
I pay both of mine, but not the same amounts (one gets minimum wage and the other makes a few $ more than that). One has much more experience and is more capable than the other.
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Aug 21, 2013, 02:44 PM
 
Why are both options in favor of paying interns?

If you want to get paid as an intern it's quite simple:

1) "dress up"
2) be flirtatious
3) get hit on
4) sue for sexual harassment
5) ???
6) profit.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
Why are both options in favor of paying interns?
My fingers aren't as fast as my brain. Osiris has it right; The 'no' option stands for people who don't think interns should get paid.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 03:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
No, they should not be paid. They are earning experience in their chosen field. I believe in transportation and lunch for them, though.
Do you think having unpaid interns eliminates low-level full-time jobs that would otherwise be paid? That it's a loophole to get around the minimum wage?

I did a paid internship during college, took off a semester of classes to do it. I got no college credit and it wasn't required, but because I wanted any chance of getting a job, I went for it. I ended up making more there than my degree'd/working full time girlfriend was making. But I suppose that may be unique to STEM majors.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 04:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
I ended up making more there than my degree'd/working full time girlfriend was making. But I suppose that may be unique to STEM majors.
From a little reading I did today it does seem that pay varies wildly depending on the business (which makes sense).
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 05:07 PM
 
We pay all of our interns. They work on real, billable work so they deserve to get paid.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 05:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
We pay all of our interns. They work on real, billable work so they deserve to get paid.
That's my thinking. If it's an NPO or gov't internship, I can see not paying them, but if it's a for-profit business, not paying an intern is just being a cheap ass and taking advantage.

So, as is usually the case, the answer to the poll is more complicated than a simple "yes" or "no", so I must abstain.
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Aug 21, 2013, 07:03 PM
 
Interns always get free meals and a ride home.

Past that, it's a question of if you want to hire them afterwards. As soon as you've had the realization "I want this person as an employee" you should start paying them as such.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 07:07 PM
 
If you're not paying your interns, you're running your business with volunteers. If you need volunteers to run your business it's time to examine your business plan.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 07:18 PM
 
Need ≠ Have
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 07:20 PM
 
If your hiring practices involve taking whoever some college gives you, you need to rethink your business plan.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 08:20 PM
 
I'd say we ultimately agree though. The big difference between an intern and a potential hire is it's usually easier to get a bead on a hire.

I don't want an intern who's not good enough to get paid, but I want to give them a week to see how they work out. After that week they either start getting money or are put where they won't do damage.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 09:23 PM
 
Too many companies treat interns like temporary hires. In my book, there is no such thing as a paid internship. You're either here to learn or you're here to work.

You're gaining knowledge and experience by being an intern, don't expect money too. If you're not learning anything then why are you there? Internships are meant for students.

If you're paying your "interns" to do remedial tasks like make copies or fetch coffee then you're not really teaching them anything, so you better be paying them.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 09:48 PM
 
The only issue I have with that is practical. I've seen a very strong correlation with paying an intern and then the intern accepting a later offer of full-time employment. Interns who don't get paid often go on to work somewhere else.

If you don't have a problem with that, then there's no reason to pay them. Personally, I want to keep someone who's good.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:03 PM
 
Interns also work harder when you pay them, much more often than not. Not only do I pay mine at the garage, he also gets insurance. He's becoming a damned fine mechanic and I plan on offering him a permanent position when he graduates.
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:21 PM
 
Likewise if you feed them. I cannot understate the value of feeding the troops and feeding them well.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:32 PM
 
Great. Now I'm hungry.
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 03:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
Too many companies treat interns like temporary hires. In my book, there is no such thing as a paid internship. You're either here to learn or you're here to work.
Why are those two things mutually exclusive? Over the course of a few months it's entirely plausible that someone could accept expanding responsibilities building up to doing the work of a full time employee. The employee gains experience, knowledge, and great references, and the employer gets work done at a reduced cost (probably correlating to the reduced amount of work done), and they get to vet potential full-time hires. On-boarding someone who has interned before and is already in the system and familiar with the company is much cheaper than starting from scratch.
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 04:14 AM
 
Not paying them is a good free way to weed out the not so good people for free, and for the good ones to get some work experience under their belt.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 08:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Do you think having unpaid interns eliminates low-level full-time jobs that would otherwise be paid? That it's a loophole to get around the minimum wage?

I did a paid internship during college, took off a semester of classes to do it. I got no college credit and it wasn't required, but because I wanted any chance of getting a job, I went for it. I ended up making more there than my degree'd/working full time girlfriend was making. But I suppose that may be unique to STEM majors.
I don't equate internships with low-level jobs, I see internship as a means to gain experience with people you would otherwise never get to work with. Low level jobs rarely involve working directly with, say, the president of NBC or the head of an advertising company. Perhaps my experience with interns is a little different, but no, I don't see it as a loophole.
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Aug 22, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
I don't equate internships with low-level jobs, I see internship as a means to gain experience with people you would otherwise never get to work with. Low level jobs rarely involve working directly with, say, the president of NBC or the head of an advertising company. Perhaps my experience with interns is a little different, but no, I don't see it as a loophole.
Interesting - and you're right, our definitions of "intern" do differ.
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by laminar View Post
interesting - and you're right, our definitions of "intern" do differ.
intern fight!
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Aug 22, 2013, 02:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
I don't equate internships with low-level jobs, I see internship as a means to gain experience with people you would otherwise never get to work with. Low level jobs rarely involve working directly with, say, the president of NBC or the head of an advertising company. Perhaps my experience with interns is a little different, but no, I don't see it as a loophole.
That's an exceedingly rare type of internship and not indicative of 99% of the ones offered.
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Aug 22, 2013, 03:00 PM
 
Yes, apparently.

Get in line for the intern war!
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Aug 22, 2013, 04:41 PM
 
Good lord, if I didn't know better, I'd think my thread had fostered some half-decent discussion on the subject. But that can't be possible, I started this thread...
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 04:45 PM
 
there's still time to ruin it all. I'm just saying, that's an option.
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Aug 23, 2013, 01:18 AM
 
There's so much abuse of unpaid internships in my industry that I believe they should be paid. The pay should be low but still...
     
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Aug 23, 2013, 12:41 PM
 
Here I was thinking MacNN was a pro-slavery type of joint. Next you'll lead me to believe that you leave tips at restaurants and hotels. I mean, who does that?

/s
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Aug 23, 2013, 07:18 PM
 
there is always a market rate.

supply and demand, no?

and, no one is forcing you to do anything.
     
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Aug 23, 2013, 09:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Likewise if you feed them. I cannot understate the value of feeding the troops and feeding them well.
Truth. Feeding people goes an awfully long way to keeping them happy.
     
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Aug 23, 2013, 09:18 PM
 
Or, more cynically, not mad.

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Aug 23, 2013, 09:18 PM
 
Hangry
     
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Aug 23, 2013, 09:22 PM
 
To the mashup thread with you!
     
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Aug 24, 2013, 07:49 AM
 
Intern, or free worker?
I would like to think that an intern is there to learn about the career/business they intend to work in therefore a decent internship should involve mentoring, explaining, teaching. maybe the intern doesn't actually do a lot of actual work for the company. No problem with not paying if this as a value exchange is obviously taking place.
Photocopying, tea/coffee making, filing, that's just the company saving some ££. pay the person.
     
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Aug 24, 2013, 09:56 AM
 
Internships should definitely be paid, it shouldn't cost interns to work at the very least.
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Aug 24, 2013, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Not paying them is a good free way to weed out the not so good people for free, and for the good ones to get some work experience under their belt.
But... not paying them biases the system in favor of those whose mommies and daddies can afford to support them while they get a foothold in the profession, too.

Your point is the correct economic one, though: proving oneself by working for free is much more difficult for folks who are worthless - employers see right through their stunning good looks and schmooz-o-rama. However, it also means that the better workers are giving up more by working for free (the cost to them is higher in that sense). The internship phenomenon is explained as an asymmetric information problem, and the problem is solved by informative signalling. We teach classes on it up at the College of Knowledge. And, as expected, lawsuits and government interest in internship practices has reduced the supply of internships as well as entry-level jobs.

For the economics, though, you should look at the Nobel-Prize winning pub by this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Akerlof

And, more directly, the job market paper by Spence, too:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1882010

who also won the 2001 Nobel.

And... when I went to school was just 2.5 decades ago. I went to a state school, and most of us had jobs. And had had jobs in high school. Even the folks who had academic honors were expected to be able to work a job of some kind. Now that I think back on it, a whole lot of people then actually developed some kind of trade outside of their college studies (catering, gardening, photography, small engine repair, pool service, etc.). Weird. Maybe it's because we had all just lived through the 1970s and knew how easy it was for the bottom to drop out of the job market, even for new college grads.
( Last edited by finboy; Aug 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM. )
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Aug 24, 2013, 06:32 PM
 
I went to a university as a freshman in 1989. Pretty much no one had a job.

I transferred to low rent art college in 1990, and most people had jobs.
     
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Aug 25, 2013, 10:37 AM
 
I had an unpaid internship. On the one hand, I was lucky to have that experience working with some nice designers, some of whom I still keep in touch with today. I learned a lot, they showed me the ropes, and then I did the boring/pasteup/typesetting/etc work. I did about 12 hours a week. It would have been nice to be paid, but it was difficult to find an internship actually, so the supply/demand factor could have been in play. I don't think any of my friends with creative internships got paid.

I had other part time jobs that paid though.
     
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Aug 26, 2013, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Intern, or free worker?
I would like to think that an intern is there to learn about the career/business they intend to work in therefore a decent internship should involve mentoring, explaining, teaching. maybe the intern doesn't actually do a lot of actual work for the company. No problem with not paying if this as a value exchange is obviously taking place.
Photocopying, tea/coffee making, filing, that's just the company saving some ££. pay the person.
     
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Aug 27, 2013, 09:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Intern, or free worker?
I would like to think that an intern is there to learn about the career/business they intend to work in therefore a decent internship should involve mentoring, explaining, teaching. maybe the intern doesn't actually do a lot of actual work for the company. No problem with not paying if this as a value exchange is obviously taking place.
Photocopying, tea/coffee making, filing, that's just the company saving some ££. pay the person.
I can't speak for anyone else's internships, but don't most cross over your descriptions?
     
   
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