Companies are taking advantage of unpaid trainees

Companies are taking advantage of unpaid trainees

Companies are taking advantage of unpaid trainees

You´ve finally landed your dream job. After many hard years of schooling, you´re accepted for a position that has been at the top of your mind for such a long time – a position as an intern. 


You arrive at your new workplace, giddy with excitement and hope for the future. After the initial intrigue and fascination with your work tasks and colleagues, however, you discover that the company ramps up the demands they have for you. You´re not only expected to work from nine to five with no pay; they want you to go overtime, spend late nights, and even work on weekends. 


In the beginning, you accept this, and say to yourself that “it´s my dream job, and I´m happy to go the extra mile.” The only problem is that you´re spending all your time at work, your bills still have to be paid, and by the end of the month, you´re starting to feel worn down. And a scary thought creeps into your mind: “What have I gotten myself into?”

Yes, it might look good on the CV, but…

The brutal fact that many interns have realized, is that a lot of companies are not interested in their wellbeing, but in their own profits. They are only taking in interns because they receive funding for it, and the extra workforce is free. And while it may look good on your CV to work for a large and esteemed company, it may impact your life in quite negative ways – and not just in the short term.  

Unpaid interns are less successful

According to a survey mentioned in an article published on the Harvard Business Reviews (It´s Time to Officially End Unpaid Internships), paid trainees get more job offers than unpaid ones. This is because companies that pay their trainees are, in general, more committed to evolving their skills and talents.  

What’s being done about it

Despite the many companies that take advantage of their trainees, some public benefit companies are taking measures to help trainees secure the best policies that they can. SmartEmploy, a service in Norway that simplifies the hiring process for apprentices and businesses, is a great example of this. When an apprentice wants to Søke læreplass in a certain business, they help the individual every step of the way, in order to ensure that both they and the trainee business make the right choice. 


If we want lasting changes in the financial terms that apprentices receive, in any country, then it´s crucial that the necessary measures are taken, so that both the business and the individual receives benefit from it. 


One way to do this might be by only letting certified trainee businesses take in apprentices. Putting this regulation in place, and stating that all workers are to be paid (perhaps 50% salary in the beginning), would be a step in the right direction. 

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