Today it has been announced in the press that unemployment for 16-24 year olds is at a high (1) As unemployment has increased to 2.62 million, over a million of these are in the 16-24 age group, or NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training). This is a shocking statistic.
Then we get Government schemes which say that all unemployed Jobseekers should be in some sort of internship or unpaid on-the-job-training (2).
Everywhere I look there are ‘unpaid internships’ and ‘work experience opportunities’ (also unpaid).
Yet are we not perpetuating unemployment by offering all these unpaid internships?
It seems only a few years ago that most companies employed ‘Office Juniors’ – people who would run around, do errands, help out here and there, do some filing, stuff envelopes, lots of photocopying, answer the phones when things got busy. ‘Ah’, I can hear you say… ‘A bit like I’ve been doing on an unpaid internship’. Exactly.
Yet these junior jobs have disappeared, to be replaced with a never ending stream of unpaid interns. The cost of administering any intern scheme over a year, (advertising the placements, interviewing if necessary, scheduling the dates, training them to do tasks, checking any work, paying travel expenses, lost company time by constant retraining, and the potential cost of any mistakes etc), must surely be the same (if not more) as if you had employed one person to do one job, on a salary?
The benefits to employing someone to do all these tasks are fantastic. You get an employee; someone you can train in the company, someone who can do all the work and more – because you don’t have to tell them every two weeks how things are run. Most will contribute something back by thinking about how to do their job or tasks better, and want to be involved more, (helping publicity, sales, marketing, rights or editorial). It also means that when someone of Assistant level leaves you may have an automatic replacement.
So come on… who will be the first publisher to stop using interns and actually employ someone on a permanent contract?