The worst kept secret in business ethics

The ‘revelation’ that unpaid interns are employed on a widespread basis is one of the worst kept secrets in business ethics. These are not just the uncontrolled exploits of small owner-mangers. It is standard practice among many bluechips. Media, public relations and publishing firms are particular culprits. These are businesses where young people queue up for an entree. They are pretty safe office environments, so there is little fear of discovery through a work accident.

This is not just bad because it’s illegal. It’s socially regressive because it cuts off those from poorer backgrounds who can’t survive on unpaid labour from the work experience so needed on a CV these days.  How about a statement from all our leading companies on their practices in this area on their CSR web pages?


Published by Michael Littlechild – April 2013