Watch Group: Unpaid Internships Cost Jobs and Cause Image Problems

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According to a watch group that focuses on internship, getting a job with unpaid internship experience equates to a 1% greater chance of obtaining a job, compared with no internship experience at all.

In a statement released last week, InternMatch stated: “The millions of unpaid internships in the U.S. every year are costing hundreds of thousands of jobs. While paid internships turn into a job 60 percent of the time, unpaid internship experience offers a measly 1 percent bump over no internship experience at all (37 percent vs. 36 percent). This should sound an alarm for everyone defending the ‘pay your dues and you’ll be better off long-term’ argument.”

According to the data the group has collected, paid internships draw more attention from prospective talent and are far more likely to lead to paid positions.  The use of unpaid internships also has a negative association, according to the group.

“Providing interns with an unpaid, under-educational experience can ruin your image as an employer of interns and full-time employees, while creating a paid intern program is good business. It helps to find more talented students (paid positions get 2.7 times as many applications as unpaid roles), helps increase conversion of interns to full-time hires, and creates more buy-in from students during their internship.”

The group concludes, “By not paying interns and allowing students to ‘pay their dues,’ businesses are actually setting themselves up for serious legal troubles.

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