A survey from UK exposes wildly excessive use of unpaid interns in arts, media and even retail, something which has been going on for decades here and is of course now skewing the demographics of those who do eventually get paying jobs in these sectors..

(the only place I think unpaid work experience is tolerable is for a week or two at high school aged <16, not for young adults)


I didn't know this was so wide spread.

When I was an intern (more than 10yrs ago) I was paid minimum wages. When I mentioned to the company's accountant that the conditions where better than in France (at that time the tax system was encouraging to pay less than 300 € a months as above this threshold, taxes would kick in), she replied that it was illegal to pay less than minimal wages in the UK.

Not paying someone for work is just so plainly wrong...

@alfajet it was around 10 years ago HMRC tried to clamp down on the practice, but the economic depression had started then and it was already rife in so called "creative industries" (the BBC and Grauniad even though both claim to be "left" were notorious for using unpaid interns, I think they still use a few but keep the placement times below 1 month

this happens a lot in France.

In fact I had to do a mandatory worker internship in a manufacturing company (automotive) as part of my studies. It was clear that all basic operations in that factory where run by interns during the summer months. I was paid 300€ and considering that the company wasn't paying social taxes on my time, it was a huge saving for them, I'd say probably 80% cheaper than a regular worker.

But not all employers are bad. I had another internship experience in France also paid 300€/month for the reason explained above.

I learnt a lot and even if it was challenging at start, I remember it as a great experience.

But was was waiting for me when I left was really unexpected. The boss gave a check for "travel expenses" of more than 1000€ in appreciation of my work. Considering that this SME was on a tight budget, that really meant a lot to me.

@alfajet I get the impression that France values education and training slightly more than UK; but because the politicians try to copy us (Macron tries very much to be like Tony Blair) they will struggle to fund it (and there aren't as many state owned utilities any more) so you end up with situations like you just described of young workers risking becoming a cheap resource for private companies (outside of the goodwill of their management)


@vfrmedia @alfajet It sucks. Unpaid interns need to eat too. It wouldn't be quite so bad if we had a UBI, but Universal Credit definitely isn't that. Yet. It could be but ideological differences, the hostile environment and basic incompetence mean it's a long way away right now.

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