Update: This story has been picked up by the Independent, where 90% of readers think Man Utd should pay the Living Wage!

Manchester United is recruiting several “ambitious”, “high-achieving” graduates with “a 2.1 degree from a top university” as Research Assistants – yet the world’s third richest football club is only offering the minimum wage.

The confused job description details a huge list of skills and responsibilities, and specifies that assistants will be expected to “work in an independent, resourceful and self-confident manner, and have the determination and tenacity to tackle large pieces of work” – yet the club labels the two-month position an ‘internship’. Graduate Fog’s readers regularly complain about a growing trend for employers labelling skilled jobs as ‘internships’ to justify low wages. Decide for yourself if you think this is a minimum wage role – here is the advert: 

Man Utd Research assistant top

Man Utd Research assistant job description

Man Utd salary details

When Graduate Fog challenged the club about the low pay offered for what appears to be skilled work, a spokesperson said the Manchester United internship was “highly supervised” but that successful applicants should be keen to work independently, “in the hope of demonstrating their value to the business”:

“This role is, despite the job title, an entry level intern position. Whilst the candidate would be involved in all of the duties listed they would only touch upon them all lightly as the advert states that the position is for a two month period.

“The position is highly supervised working within a team but we look for all our staff to show the capability of working independently and would expect an ambitious graduate to want to display the full range of their abilities – including that of independent working – in the hope of demonstrating their value to the business.

“Manchester United reviews its remuneration structure on an annual basis.

“A number of internships have been successfully completed at the club, giving many people valuable experience. This has led to full time employment with Manchester United, or helped secure a job elsewhere through skill sets which have been developed during these periods.”

Graduate Fog’s founder Tanya de Grunwald today called this a prime example of an employer with deep pockets taking advantage of an over-supply of qualified young candidates who are so desperate for experience that they will happily perform skilled work for very low wages, saying:

“I’m getting sick and tired of seeing big employers sticking the word ‘internship’ into job descriptions as a justification for paying poverty wages to young people. Manchester United can well afford to pay their staff more than the bare minimum. I’m also disappointed to see them limiting the pool of talent to those from “top” universities. Such snobbishness is likely to exclude many ambitious and able candidates from diverse backgrounds.”

Graduate Fog has asked Manchester United to consider paying the Living Wage – but we have not yet received a response.

The Independent found that 90% of their readers think Man Utd should pay the Living Wage

The Independent found that 90% of their readers think Man Utd should pay the Living Wage

Is this low salary justified because the football club says the role is an ‘internship’? Do you think employers who can afford to pay proper salaries should offer more more than the bare minimum? Have your say below!

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