In a surprising study from Graduate Prospects, almost half of undergraduate students claimed they worked completely for free.
The study - which surveyed 22,000 undergrads from 2006 and 2010 - asked students if they participated in any kind of work study or internship while completing their degree. 70% said yes, but 43% reported that they never received a penny for their efforts.
Insiders say the figures aren't surprising.
"Despite the hype around unpaid work experience placements over the last few years, we can see from the study that a huge proportion of interns still have to work for free," said Graduate Prospects executive Mike Hill.
Students reported finding work through volunteer opportunities and unpaid internships. Nearly a third were only able to secure employment through family and friends instead of official placements. Despite new laws requiring interns to make at least minimum wage, there are certain loopholes regarding full-time students.
According to Becky Heath, a representative for intern rights, things are only going to get worse.
"The erosive culture of unpaid internships is affecting students as well as those who have graduated and are looking for work," she claimed, adding, "It's a trend which will only continue to grow as support for young people is stripped away."