The Evening Standard has angered young jobseekers by advertising a four-week unpaid fashion internship at its sister TV channel as a competition prize, using the hashtag #fashionhappy.
The following advertorial – for the Fashion Happy Film Competition – appeared in London’s free evening newspaper last night, on behalf of their colleagues at new regional TV station London Live:
Graduate Fog has never been a fan of internships (even paid ones) as competition prizes – we think there’s something distasteful about it (ever noticed that it’s only young workers who get this crap?). Call us cynical, but it’s usually just a PR gimmick.
And when the internship is unpaid, things get even darker, distorting the normal relationship between work and pay and leaving young jobseekers’ feeling that their contribution must be worth nothing – simply because they’re not receiving a wage. In most cases, this is a lie. A recent survey by Intern Aware found that the majority of employers do ask their unpaid interns to perform ‘valuable tasks’ for them.
Things get darker still when the organisation advertising an unpaid internship ‘prize’ is owned by a billionaire – in this case Evgeny Lebedev. But what’s really disappointing is that the Evening Standard – and its sister title the Independent – has a long track record of publishing brilliant editorial that is supportive of interns’ fight for a fairer deal on pay, as well as the challenges facing young people who are either unemployed, or earning crummy salaries and wondering how they’ll ever pay off their debt or afford to move out of their parents’ home.
(Special thanks to Richard Godwin, Rosamund Urwin and Lucy Tobin for this).
So we wrote this to the Evening Standard’s Letters page last night:
Let’s see if they print it in tonight’s edition…
*SHOULD UNPAID INTERNSHIPS EVER BE OFFERED AS A ‘PRIZE’?
What do you think of this advert? Would you consider entering this competition? If you won, could you afford to work for free for a month?