I think PR is possibly one of the only industries which heavily rely upon interns working for free. While I have been lucky to get a paid internship, most are not so lucky.
A recent BBC 2 program exposed top London fashion PR agency Modus Publicity for employing 20 unpaid interns. Now I can understand a company employing a number of interns unpaid if the company didn’t have the turnover but were offering experience and an employment opportunity at the end of the internship period but 20 unpaid internships is, in my opinion, a total abuse of graduates wanting to earn their stripes.
I’m willing to bet that those 20 Interns are a sizable portion of Modus Publicity’s staff and without the interns the current workload wouldn’t be possible.
As long as young people are willing to work for free then the practice will continue, which is a shame as I don’t see many other professions engaging in this behavior.
Many of the leading professionals recommending graduates work unpaid internships, I’m betting have never worked an unpaid day in their lives.
The DIT MAPR class had one guest speaker in at the beginning of the year advising us not to work unpaid internships as she believed we would be selling ourselves short.
Unpaid internships also exclude those who cannot afford to work for free which gives a clear advantage to individuals with well off parents.
Love Niamh x