Unpaid Internships Favor the Wealthy
1 year ago
Journalist explains how unpaid internships systematically disenfranchise lower-income families
In an economy where the hustle to find a job has been more strenuous than before, job seekers may have to settle for an unpaid internship, which may already favor a candidate who comes from a wealthier background.
According to student and freelance journalist Anna Miller, unpaid internships “perpetuate rampant inequality in the U.S” creating a culture where the less fortunate may not able to pay for expenses during their internship.
“Students that come from a privileged background, with parents who are willing and able to finance sometimes serial internships, are able to survive in internship culture financially unscathed,” she writes.
Miller believes unpaid internships creat a class division, favoring the privileged and pressuring other students, graduates into financial sacrifices that simply cannot afford to make.
The number of students who acquired internships at four-year institutions has increased from nine percent to 80 percent between 1992 and 2008, according to the National Association for Colleges and Employers.
Kimberly Nettles, 22, a third-year pharmacy student at Florida A&M University who worked 40 hours a week without salary at Walgreens this past summer, tells Loop 21 money should not be an excuse if an unpaid internship has been granted.
“I can’t agree. You can’t use money as an excuse,” she says. “Even if it’s unpaid you just have to make it work.”
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers website, the top average hourly rates by major for bachelor’s degree student interns are:
• Actuarial science—$20.26
• Computer science—$18.20