One of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotels is recruiting for a unpaid intern – offering only travel expenses and meals instead of wages.

An advert has appeared on The Ritz London’s website, for an HR intern who must be free to work “a minimum of four days a week, for a period of two months. This tight fistedness is in marked contrast to the hotel’s prices, where a traditional cream tea starts at £45 per person – and rooms cost between £315 to £3,660 per night. Here is the advert in full:

Reference:  HRX-00427
Department:  Human Resources
Employment type:  Intern
Hours per week:  Minimum 4 days per week – 2 month fixed term period

Job Purpose:

As an HR Intern you will be responsible for supporting and coordinating the HR Department and liaising with other departments within the hotel to ensure the efficient running of the overall business. You must possess the right attitude and flair to work in this very special hotel. You will gain work experience in HR administration, training and development, recruitment and employee engagement.

The successful candidate will possess exceptional communication and organisational skills as well as the ability to act in a confidential and sensitive manner. Ideally, you are working towards or have already completed an HR qualification.

This is an unpaid internship, where travel expenses will be covered and meals on duty will be provided.

Entry Requirements:

– A student or recent graduate of a Human Resources degree or qualification
– Excellent communication skills, written, verbal and interpersonal
– Strong administrative skills (including Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel)
– Attention to detail
– Excellent team player
– Ability to learn new systems and demonstrate initiative


In accordance with the Immigration Act 1996, all candidates will need to demonstrate their eligibility to live and work in the UK by providing their original documents during the recruitment process.


The Ritz London has been continuously the subject of a job application scam which targets individuals who have registered with job search websites. Fraudulent contracts of employment, interview questionnaires and visa permits are being sent to individuals by e-mail enticing to disclose personal details and pay money to secure employment with The Ritz London.

Please note these employment letters along with other documents are not genuine. Do not respond to the e-mails and do not send any money.

If you receive a suspicious e-mail please forward it immediately to

 We are taking all measures within our power to stop this fraudulent activity.

Graduate Fog has just emailed the Ritz to ask for an explanation:

To: The Ritz London
From: Graduate Fog
Sent: Wednesday 27 February 2013, 2.58pm
Subject: Urgent – Press comment about your HR internship

Hi there,

My name is Tanya de Grunwald and I run a graduate careers advice website called Graduate Fog.

I am interested to see that The Ritz London is openly recruiting for an HR intern on your website, but offering only travel expenses and meals as payment. My users feel strongly that internships that involve real work but which pay less than the minimum wage exploit those young people who do them while excluding those who can’t afford to do them. Given the exclusive nature of the Ritz – and its prices – I anticipate that they will be shocked to see that you are not prepared to pay a proper salary for this role.

I would be grateful if a spokesperson for the hotel could provide answers to the following:

1) What is the nature of the work that this HR intern will do during their two month placement? The job description suggests that they require qualifications and skills, so presumably they are given real work to do? If they are given duties to perform, what are these? Do they have set hours and responsibilities?

2) Are you aware that the national minimum wage law states that anybody qualifying as a ‘worker’ must be paid at least the minimum wage, which is £6.19 for anyone aged 21 or over (which an HR graduate is likely to be). Is it your belief that this intern would not qualify as a ‘worker’, and is therefore not entitled to this wage? Please explain exactly why.

3) Are you concerned that not offering wage for this internship means that those young people who cannot work for free are effectively being excluded from this opportunity? Does the Ritz not feel it has a responsibility to ensure that all opportunities are open to applicants from all backgrounds?

4) Now that Graduate Fog has drawn your attention to this issue, will the Ritz consider removing this advert – or making this role a paid opportunity?

I will be blogging about this today so if you could provide a response as soon as possible I will post it below the story.

With many thanks,


Thanks to Ben Goldacre (@bengoldacre, for drawing our attention to this story. We will let you know when we hear back from the Ritz. In the meantime, please Tweet and Share this story, to put pressure on the Ritz to respond – thanks!

Are you shocked that this role is unpaid? Does the Ritz have a duty to make sure that their jobs are open to applicants from all backgrounds, and not just those who can afford to work for free? What should the hotel do now that we have brought their attention to the issue?

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