There was quite a stir earlier this month when UCL advertised an unpaid internship, the full series of responses of can be found here. Now it’s happened again with BG Mag, but for an editorial/managerial position. The pay? Lunch and travel for Zones 1-3, for a permanent full-time position. Full details are here, and screenshotted below in case they remove it (as has happened before). Thanks to Kelly Oakes for pointing this out.
Job description. Incredibly harmful.
This is another example of a job only being open to those who can afford to live in London without salary, as in those with exceptionally wealthy parents. It’s financially crippling to anyone who can’t, and immoral on many levels. And this is not just for a volunteer or work experience position: it’s a full-time and permanent managerial/editorial position. I imagine the average salary for that is slightly more than the £10/day or whatever this pathetic excuse for a wage amounts to.
I’ve written the magazine a simple letter asking them to either remove the position, or offer a salary that adequately reflects the position. It may have been slightly more strongly worded than this though.
It turns out that interns also are given the same ‘salary’. How incredibly sad to see this kind of employment still being advertised. I’ll update this, should I get a response. As Ben Goldacre points out in his similar post, this is a systemic issue, and needs resolving through open discussion.
Source: Corn on the Job.
UPDATE 1: Response from GB Mag:
The details we sent over to Gorkana included a salary. They have posted the wrong details, which has obviously reflected badly on us. I wouldn’t dream of getting an intern to fill this position.
I have asked Gorkana to remove the advert immediately but they are being very slow about actioning my request.
I am sorry for the upset this has caused you.
To which I responded:
Thank you for responding. That’s good to hear about the intention to have a salaried position. I can’t help but notice that you’re advertising unpaid internships too though. The link provided in the previous email gives evidence about how detrimental this is, and I’m sure you’re aware of the consistent public outrage over such positions. I find it, therefore, a little concerning that along with these positions, you appear to equate ‘unpaid’ with ‘intern’ in your response below, and these adverts.
I am an intern, and I work in London. I get paid the London Living Wage, which is a fair salary. I would not be able to do my job without this.
I politely, but strongly, request that you reconsider offering unpaid internships, as they are damaging to not only yourself, both in terms of the quality of candidate you employ and the image you portray to the public, and also to those who you hire.
Thank you for responding to the issue of the Editorial position – I hope Gorkana rectify the situation.
All our interns are extremely well trained whilst they are with us, and have a lot to put on their CV. Plus we have offered jobs to two we took on three months ago.
Time to be diplomatic.
Why I don’t doubt that you train your staff extremely well, I must ask, could you personally afford to live in London for 3 months with no salary? Think about how this restricts your potential candidate list, as well as the moral implications of what you offer. Consider it further in the context of a graduate emerging from university with a maxed out overdraft and ~£30k worth of debt.
Just because you offered two of them jobs, this does not iron out the fact that you hired staff and didn’t pay them. The end does not justify the means, and in this case the means is, and always will be immoral. This isn’t a personal assault on your company, it’s a systemic problem, in that employers are exploiting a loophole which enables them to get skilled labour for no cost. It is somewhat comforting to hear that you train staff well, and offer employment to some after, but if this is the case, why not just hire them as full time anyway? As an employer, you really must consider this scenario from the perspectives of those who you are employing.
No response to the above yet, but, I did get this from Gorkana:
Gorkana would like to apologise for any confusion caused to you as a candidate and to GB Mag for the error in their advert for the vacancy for an Online Editor. It was human error on the part of Gorkana. GB Mag had stated in writing that the role would be paid and should in no way be blamed for the mistake.
Again, sincere apologies for any confusion. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Also, it turns out they have taken down the job advert for the unpaid internships! http://www.gorkanajobs.co.uk/job/14248/gb-mag-pr-intern/