40% of work placement students not get paid according to recent survey

1st July 2011

Close to 27 percent of companies in a recent online survey said they did not pay either wages or expenses to students and recent graduates hired by them on work experience and internship programmes. In all, close to 40 percent of work placement students do not get compensated. The survey of 74 organisations was conducted by XpertHR and examined employer attitudes and payment arrangements for temporary workers and interns.

The survey showed that typical organisations tended to hire students and recent graduates for between 8 and 21 weeks though in some cases, the placements lasted for much longer periods. About 38 percent of those surveyed said they did not pay any expenses while slightly more than 1 in four admitted to paying nothing all to their temporary workers.

Of the 29 organisations that claimed to pay wages to all or some of their interns, three paid just the minimum wage while one admitted to paying even less. About half of those paying wages, said they paid their interns more than the minimum wage while three claimed to pay them £10 an hour. A total of 11 companies said their wages depended on the type of work performed by the interns.

Interestingly, close to half of those surveyed (45 percent) said that it was unethical for companies to hire unpaid students and interns to perform jobs for free, under the pretext that they were gaining work experience.

According to Charlotte Wolff, the author of the report, many of the survey respondents appeared to be unsure about how national minimum wage legislation applied in the case of students and interns on work experience programmes. The findings of the survey are important because it shows that while work experience programs can boost recruitment chances and career options, many of those who participate in such programs do not get paid for their efforts.

Online Recruitment in the UK – RecruitmentRevolution.com