A free internship can result in a salary penalty
Graduates who take up unpaid internships suffer a significant salary penalty compared to those going straight into paid work or further study. This is according to a research paper titled Access to and Returns from Unpaid Graduate Internships from the University of Essex. The study found that graduates who take up unpaid internships suffer a salary penalty at 3.5 years after graduation.
On average, former interns face a salary penalty of approximately ?3,500 per year compared to peers who went into paid work, and ?1,500 compared to those who continued studying.
“Only compared to those doing something else – including travelling or remaining unemployed – do interns gain any significant benefit.”
The research further found that graduates from higher socio-economic status have an advantage in accessing internships, while being insulated from their negative effects.
- ^ Access to and Returns from Unpaid Graduate Internships (ftp.iza.org)
- ^ Degrees which will get you the biggest starting salary in South Africa (mybroadband.co.za)