I was listening to radio 4 again yesterday. To ‘You and Yours’ – an investigative consumer magazine programme which is on daily at midday. Yesterday it was devoted to a discussion of one topic.
A prelude to full-time employment.
Bright young graduates giving their time and energy for free, every day, to a company in order to gain the experience which will give them the edge in the job-hunting stakes.
Except that these bright young graduates were reporting that they had been doing internships for 18 months, 2 years, and more, without even travel allowances. And were still not winning those prized basic entry level posts which would start them off on the path to long term success. Companies were looking for those with more relevant work experience than they had! Or just not taking on people for entry level jobs.
Could I suggest that this is because employers have found that they do not have to pay people to do the less skilled tasks?
And why would they offer salaries, when there appears to be an embarrassment of riches out there for the plucking, when the idea of getting free labour now has widespread government approval, when affluent parents are willing to subsidize their adult offspring into their late twenties????
Do these graduates not figure that, whilst they are willing to work for free, there’s not a company in the world which will offer them a paycheck?? Do they not think that, whilst they are willing to work for free they are, in fact, reducing the number of paid jobs?
I’m not naive enough to blame internships for blighting the employment prospects of less advantaged young people. But I certainly feel it is a particularly cynical government which promotes exploitation of young people in the name of ‘gaining experience’. Especially when the least privileged will be the ultimate losers.
As you can imagine, I had to show my deep displeasure and ridicule of the message by – yes – turning the radio off!!!!!! I hope the BBC noticed – that’ll show them I’m not to be messed with!!
Oh – by the way – the boarding passes are now printed out! In four more days we’ll be on our way!!! (I just knew that you would be concerned that my current infirmity had made me lose my sense of perspective or – even worse – prevented me from travelling come Saturday!!)