In the October 7, 2013 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, News Editor, Liz Bernier, spoke with Career Edge President, Naguib Gouda, about the unpaid internship debate that has once again heated up in the Canadian business community. As a follow-up to this story, HR Reporter produced a video that investigates the issues related to unpaid internships. In the video, Naguib outlines four key reasons why paying your interns is good for business:
1. Reputation and Ethics
Unpaid internships have a bad reputation. They can be seen as exploitative and even unethical, and businesses seldom want to be associated with either, risking their reputation and ethical standing.
2. Socio-economic Responsibility
Many people – including talented newcomers, persons with disabilities and recent university or college graduates – simply cannot afford to accept a job without pay. This is a concerning thought because it means that unpaid internships cut a significant population out of the workforce.
Organizations could be systematically filtering out the dedicated, hardworking candidates who have to financially support themselves. It’s our social responsibility to help these people find work that reflects their education and qualifications to allow them to be prosperous, successful and productive citizens.
While we are aware that money isn’t the single most important form of motivation, compensation is still a factor in getting the best results from your employees. If workers do not feel that they are getting compensated fairly for the work they do, they may not be giving you 100%.
You get what you pay for. Top talent are willing to work hard to get that much-needed first experience, but you’ll get the most if you pay them fairly.
If you do bring on an unpaid intern, it may prove difficult to keep them. First of all, your unpaid intern may have to work a second job just to stay afloat – after a while they may find the balance too difficult.
Even if the person is being financially supported by family or loved ones during the internship, it may not be long before they start looking at job boards. Promises of potential paid opportunities “down the road” may not go very far either, as so many unpaid interns have been strung along by companies in the past, they may not take the bait.