Friday, April 01, 2011

Are unpaid internships the new normal?

In the last three years, Fallis has used about 50 unpaid interns for duties in marketing, editorial, advertising, sales, account management and public relations. She's convinced it's the wave of the future in human resources. "Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm," she says.
-- From an article in Fortune magazine, quoting Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services.The article, of course, relates to U.S. conditions and laws but raises some interesting questions about people -- such as interns -- being required to work for free, as is commonplace in the Canadian magazine industry.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a dangerous precedent that needs to be rolled back with some aggressive labour laws.

Also, Nino Ricci's open letter to the Globe deserves play on your blog, DB:

10:25 am  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I certainly recommend reading the letter; I did tweet it. Thanks for providing the link

11:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The industry is being eroded from the bottom up. Magazines and newspapers are moving more and more toward "forcing" the lowest people on the totem pole—freelancers & interns—to bare a disproportionate amount of the burden of carrying the industry. This is an untenable situation and the result will (has been?) be a wholesale degradation of the quality of journalism produced in the country. Will Nino Ricci ever pitch to the Globe again? Unlikely. His situation is not unique. At a certain point it becomes cost ineffective to even pitch stories to some of these publications. And the web, well, we all know what that pays. Labour laws are needed to address these situations.

2:06 pm  
Blogger Elena said...

I believe laws ARE in place to prevent this: it's my understanding that unpaid internships are illegal unless they're for school credit. Or, unless they're for charity—and since several Canadian publications are backed by non-profit orgs, this may be how the magazine industry gets around it.

Part of why I agree that unpaid internships set a dangerous precedent, is that I've seen a lot of entry-level jobs be replaced by unpaid internships. Pretty scary, and in the end it's not always good business sense, since some organizations end up just getting new interns all the time instead of retaining knowledgeable staff.

There was a fairly good piece in MacLean's about this.. and as a recent graduate just entering the workforce, this is an issue close to my heart! MacLean's article here.

2:11 pm  
Anonymous Nico said...

Ten years? It's the case now.

Unpaid, or "honourarium" paid interns are the case with many small magazines and publishers.

As an unpaid intern myself, I'm not sure the experience (the real payment, according to some) is really worth the hours of unpaid time.

I do this because I love the publisher and publishing, though, financially, and career-wise, I know it's not worth my time.

So it goes?

3:26 pm  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home