Breaking Down the Unpaid Internship
A lot of industries prefer applicants that have internship experience before even applying to an entry-level position. That makes sense! Experience is the best way to learn with all industries but there is a problem here.
In most industries internships are unpaid. According to National Business and Disability Center, 46.5% of internships are unpaid.
When an internship is unpaid, the student is to receive credit from their school in place of a class. That sounds great until you realize that credits cost money... a lot of money. So when a student is accepted to an unpaid internship, they are paying their school thousands of dollars to work at an outside company...
This then leads to another problem. Because 46.5% of internships are unpaid, recent graduates cannot participate in these internships unless they want go to another university and pay them for the opportunity to work at an outside company... Yikes!
The fact that minimum wage doesn't cover rent anywhere in the US and companies are choosing to have their interns pay for their internship opportunities is a bit striking to me. It limits the diversity of talent that the company could gain if the internships were simply stipend or paid hourly.
There are companies out there making changes because of the points I made above like Warner Music Group's Emerging Talent Associate program. By creating a paid contract position in almost all of their departments, they are making the position and company accessible to almost every aspiring music industry professional. Then again, there are a lot of positions in the music industry that are unpaid internships...
Students don't care about money, they care about experience... but they don't like being taken advantage of and paying thousands for an internship.