In the first installment of SkilledUp’s special report, we reviewed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which sets guidelines for what is and isn’t legal in the world of unpaid interns. Today, we’ll answer the basic question- who’s hiring unpaid interns? Our research surprised us, and indicates what entry-level employment might look like in the future.
|Part 1:||A Stupid Law|
|Part 2:||Not the Economy|
|Part 3:||Freelancing & Freemium|
|Part 4:||Long Term Effects|
Unpaid internships are notoriously hard to measure, with no paperwork in many or even most cases. However, data compiled by the Bureau of Labor statistics, when compared to data from Interbridge.com helps shed light on some of the shifts that we can verify through hard data.
As one would expect, unpaid internships have become more prevalent in those industries facing dire economic situations. For example, the publishing industry, which has been losing jobs for the past ten years, saw 10% fewer interns receive compensation in 2010 than in 2009.
Corollary to this increase in unpaid internships is an increase in “payment” by way of college credit- 17.6% more healthcare consulting interns received credit in 2010 than in ’09. Information Management and other growth sectors, including all areas of finance, report similar numbers.
These numbers help to partially refute the idea that unpaid internships are a temporary byproduct of a weak economy. The fact that industries with increased labor demand are increasing their use of unpaid internships leads us to the conclusion that the unpaid internship is not merely a byproduct of a lagging economy in which businesses cannot afford to pay their entry-level employees. Rather, it’s a facet of the workforce that’s here to stay, even in those industries that are expecting to see rapid growth in the next decade.
So if the economy isn’t the (only) cause of the rise in unpaid internships, then what is? We’ll try to answer that question in the next installment.