In the wake of a government investigation B&T is conducting its own research to find out how interns are treated in the ‘sexy’ media, marketing, advertising and PR industries.
A Fair Work Ombudsman report has found using unpaid interns for work similar to that undertaken by paid employees is on the rise in a number of industries including the media.
The practice may see employees charged fines of up to $51,000 according to the study, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide.
While retail and hospitality are the main culprits, one researcher has said it is likely the “glamorous” media, marketing, advertising and PR industries are just as guilty.
How does adland really treat its interns?
When we asked the industry last year if adland exploited its interns, there was an immediate response and opinions were divided.
Now, B&T is running an anonymous survey to set the story straight and to find out exactly how prevalent both paid and unpaid internships are.
The results from this survey and another targeted survey will form the basis of an upcoming feature for B&T Magazine.
Andrew Stewart, a legal expert at the University of Adelaide who was commissioned for the report, told B&T last year that unpaid internships would be common in advertising as young people look for "an edge".
“But the problem we see is if there are no limits and you end up with a race to the bottom where there is more and more of an expectation to perform longer periods of unpaid work."
One B&T reader said: "That fact that unpaid internships are industry standard is only incredibly exploitative, its a vote of no confidence to the interns working on large accounts and providing considerable benefits to the company."
While another said: "I am a firm believer of free work – most of the unpaid work I have ever done has lead to amazing opportunities that I would not have otherwise been offered."