How does the debate on free internships affect you?
Many employers say that it is difficult to find good quality graduates with the skills required by business. Graduates complain that employers expect them to have work experience but without jobs they cannot gain any work experience.
Do paid internships provide a viable way forward? Would you consider having an intern who is paying anything up to £100/day to join you? Or would you be too concerned about the legal issues, never mind the ethical ones?
Why choose to have an intern – either unpaid or paying you?
- You have a chance to assess how the individual performs in the workplace without paying a salary
- You are not obliged to retain that person at the end of the internship
- The intern can develop the skills needed to become a valuable member of staff
- The intern only moves onto your payroll after s/he has become useful to your business
Why should companies be wary of internships?
- Many people feel strongly that unpaid or paid-for internships are wrong and offering them might taint your business’s reputation
- Where an agency offers to find a paid-for internship for you, you should be aware that the Employment Agencies Act 1973, the basis for the Conduct of Employment Agencies & Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, prohibits charging work seekers fees for finding them work
- Unpaid or paid-for internships are viewed as a grey area in terms of the Minimum Wage legislation
- Creating financial barriers might restrict the type of applicants you receive. Anyone on an unpaid or paid-for internship will have to find another means of supporting themselves, which typically excludes those from poorer backgrounds. A candidate who has worked hard to fund their own degree might bring more valuable skills to your business than a graduate who can afford an unpaid or paid-for internship.
We are only too aware of the difficulties faced by employers and by young people seeking their first role. No business has ‘slack’ at the moment and training up a new recruit can be time consuming and costly. However, if interns work free of charge, or pay to spend time in your company, HMRC might investigate the matter. The bad publicity could be damaging and the risk of overlooking good quality candidates is high. We recommend that our clients select candidates carefully from a hand-picked pool and accept that there will be some requirement to train people on the job. At Sue Rees, we understand the importance of building and maintain strong teams so we work closely with all our clients to give you a shortlist of candidates who will support you in achieving your goals. We hope you found this newsletter interesting. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues and contacts.