Thursday, 4 March 2010

It's a Jungle Out There

Well, it's official. I'm not alone. As the article in today's Daily Mail demonstrates, the (often) poor and unregulated conditions of interships are affecting graduates up and down the country.

I was fascinated to discover Interns Anonymous from this article: a website created by two graduates which is hoping to bring to light graduates' stories of the internship market.

As the Daily Mail article points out, the moment an intern is asked to do any sort of "work" they should officially be paid minumum wage. The problem is, "internships" seem to fall into this no-man's land where it's somehow ok to expect intelligent, hard working graduates to swallow their pride and spend 8 hours a day photocopying and making tea, and all for no pay.

I called a company I worked for as an undergraduate to ask if they had any work. The guy I spoke to told me that he had had to fire his assistant, so he was relying on his intern, i.e. the intern was doing the same duties as his assistant, but without being paid.

As I have said in past posts, employers are in a very jammy position: slap the euphemistic term "internship" onto a job, and suddenly they get a host of applicants who are willing/forced to take up the post as a way into the industry, without having to pay them.

And with another wave of graduates who are going to be seeking employment in just a few months, the government really needs to step up and sort this out. It's a jungle out there.


  1. Hi Intern,

    My name is Glen Gooden, I'm a third year film student at Bournemouth University and I'm putting together a documentary about the rise of unpaid internships in graduate employment and where they stand in relation to minimum wage laws.

    As soon to be graduates ourselves, who are more than a little bit nervous about what lies in wait for us, we have greatly enjoyed your blog and would love for you to contribute. So I am writing to ask whether you would consider taking part in a short interview to talk about your experiences and the changes you would like to see implemented.

    Please feel free to contact me at


  2. Thank you for your message, Glen. I look forward to speaking to you.

  3. Hi Always an Intern,

    Here's a site you may be interested in:

    We chase up employers in Film and TV who use illegal unpaid workers on the basis of it being "an internship" or "work experience".

    Best wishes


  4. Here's the url...


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