Are Unpaid Internships in India, a Good Idea Today?

    When most employers offering lucrative stipends, the very concept of unpaid internships has come under discussion - with many asking, should we still opt for them?


    Factors to consider before taking up unpaid internships. (Image: SalesForce)
    Factors to consider before taking up unpaid internships. (Image: SalesForce)

    With online portals taking over the country, there is no dearth of internship opportunities for the Indian interns. However, though the opportunities are in abundance, it is finding the right opportunity that is the real task here. And this task becomes all the more trying when the internships are unpaid.

    Today, while most employers look to draw in candidates with lucrative offers and stipends, the concept of unpaid internships sounds jarring and can leave many asking that why should we even opt for them?

    Taking our earlier conversation on Paid Internships vs Unpaid Internships further, today we explore why you should or should not consider opting for an unpaid internship in India.

    Factors in favour of Unpaid Internships:

    Let’s have a look at some factors which can help you decide in favour of unpaid internships:

    1. Extra Credits

    Internships can help you earn extra credits. In fact, the primary motive of internships is to learn and gain credits to increase the credibility of your ongoing academic course. So, if you are getting credit points from a company in lieu of tangible cash, it is perfectly okay to take it up. With those extra credits you can ensure a much brighter future for yourself and get a good job and makeup for the lack of stipend, all in one smart stroke.

    2. Experience

    When it comes to gaining experience while you are still in college, there can be nothing better than an internship. Gaining experience from a reputed firm is always worth it as it will enhance the beauty of your resume and project you as a serious candidate for any future job roles.

    3. Opportunities

    Many companies choose future employees from their interns. They usually train interns according to their job specifications and if you happen to be one of those “good” interns, then you will most likely be preferred for any vacancy in the near future. So, if you are doing internships with the idea to secure your future and not just earn enough pocket money, then such an offer can be much better than any paid one.

    4. Additional Perks

    While there are numerous paid internships around, the mean stipend is not really high. It is enough to fill a student’s pockets, but not enough to help you look beyond the day to day travel and food expenses. If the company you decide to intern for covers your expenses and provides you with other perks, then it is worth forfeiting the company and going for an unpaid internship.

    Now, lets see the flipside of this debate.

    Factors against Unpaid Internships:

    1. Financial Constraints

    Not all students can afford to go for unpaid internships, especially when they can easily use the same time on opting for an internship that can help them with their day to day activities and help ease the burden of academic expenses.

    Financial constraints are a real issue, especially when you are going for higher education.

    2. Illegal Recruitment

    Many companies which offer unpaid internships practice unfair means to utilise the skilful energy of the candidates without spending even peanuts on them. So, before you decide to opt for an unpaid internship, you should do a thorough research on the company, what it can offer in terms of work experience and experience letter and whether you will get credits for it or not.

    If you think something is fishy or if the things the employer says and does on the paper does not match then turn tail and find another internship. Check the internship letter, cross check it if necessary, and ensure it is authentic to protect yourself from illegal recruitment.

    3. Conclusion

    You should be very clear in your head about what you want from the internship. The decision to choose paid internships or unpaid ones should totally be yours and you will have to make the best decision keeping your priority in mind. Make sure you analyze all the short and long-term benefits before choosing the internship that you do.

    Based on original inputs by: Sabina Yeasmin