We Asked 2000 People What They Thought About Unpaid Internships

October 27th 2014

ATTN: Staff

Last month, we asked people what they thought of unpaid internships. 2,059 people responded. The results are below along with a random sampling of the written responses we received. Enjoy — and feel free to add your opinion in the comments section by clicking here.

Unpaid Internships Poll

Select quotes from respondents include:

It’s rich corporations taking advantage of the less fortunate among us. The wealthy would never dream of doing this themselves!

As the owner of a startup. We literally can’t pay anyone right now. We hope to in the future but when the founders can’t cut a check for themselves, it’s impossible to do that for interns.

Unpaid internships instantly EXCLUDE people like myself, of lower economic standing, who cannot afford NOT to work for an extended period of time.

If it’s students doing so for work-study, that’s 100% legit, as it may be a requirement for them to graduate. However, in more cases than not, it’s become a convenient means for businesses to avoid paying workers for work completed, even though they make the excuse in that they get the experience, which should be enough. Since this tends to be the case 98% of the time, this is not legitimate as a business practice and is unfair to young workers.

This is a form of stealing and should be illegal, unless done through a work-study program for high-school or college credits.

They can be very beneficial to both parties involved and have been for me. Two of my greatest position extended from these associations.

An individual is learning new skills and usually goes out of their way to part of the learning environment. They could at least be paid minimum wages.

It’s a modern day version of slavery. You’re working for nothing, and if you do something wrong, you get punished.

It depends on several factors: is it a substitute for employees the operation just doesn’t want to hire, is there a legitimate tie in with an education program, where is it located, etc.

Back in May, OurTime co-founder Matthew Segal went on the Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about unpaid internships and how they adversely affect college students and young graduates.