First came the controversy of graduates working for firms – and doing a lot of work for them – for no payment, just to get a foot on the career ladder… Now comes the news that university leavers are so desperate for a job that they are paying companies to help them gain work experience.
Putting work experience down on your CV has become all-important – without it your chances of gaining a job are much less.
Already thousands of graduates work for free to gain a foot in the door of their chosen career – but as a report in The Sunday Times says, the decision of some to pay for their experience highlights just how competitive getting a job has become.
The article quotes one highly qualified graduate, 23, paying £60 a day to work at a media and video production company. She says: “I don’t see myself as being exploited. You need the experience – for every internship there is a huge amount of applicants.”
Her boss said: “I’m interested in people who are so keen to work in the industry that they are willing to finance themselves.”
The report also interviewed the boss of a wedding planning firm, which charges £100 a day for internships.
She says: “I have a work experience student now. I’ll pick her up and make sure she has everything she needs for the day.
“Next week we’re going out for dinner to talk about an event we’re doing and it’s extra time I could be earning money.”
Another boss agrees: “If you are paying £40,000 to get educated at university, I don’t think it is much much more to pay £60 a day to be able to say on your CV, ‘I’ve worked for a TV Production company.'”
It appears gaining an internship that you pay for is also very competitive. Many of the internships are advertised through Etsio.com, a website on which the work experience is outlined together with the fee successful applicants must pay their employer.
Explaining how their system works Etsio tells graduates: “You aren’t paying for a job. You’re buying experience and paying for training. It helps you improve your CV, makes you more attractive to an employer, and even helps you decide if you want to start your own business.”
It adds: “Major corporations take interns, because they can afford to, and mostly they pay them. But small companies simply don’t take interns. If you want work experience with the kind of small, exciting professions we deal with, we have to incentivise them to give you work experience. And that means paying them.”
Critics claim paid-for work experience gives wealthier job-seekers an unfair advantage over graduates from poorer families – who must get any work they can, such as bar work, to earn some cash.
But with the job situation as it is, it is possible this could become the norm…
Is charging people for work experience mean or understandable? We would love to hear your views below…