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Older, laid off workers reduced to doing unpaid internships, InternshipCrossing finds over 3,000 paid internships.

July 05, 2011   |  PDF version  PDF version

Pasadena, CA — The lingering high unemployment rate has reduced even older, experienced people without jobs to work as unpaid interns.

Internships, traditionally seen as a rite of passage for high school and college graduates looking to get an entry in their field, are now being sought after by even people in their 50s who are trying to retrain themselves for new jobs and new careers.

The main reason given by this new group of interns is that they want to have something on their resume. The job advice sites keep emphasizing the importance of keeping busy even when a person is unemployed. The two most common paths are either volunteering or doing an internship.

There are no exact figures on older interns but recruiters and career advisors have seen an increase in the number of older clients who want and are ready to do unpaid internships. With the unemployment rate stuck at around 9 percent and the underemployment rate at around 16 percent, people are more ready to take chances with unpaid internships in the hopes of learning new skills.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers says that 60 percent of the internships lead to jobs. But only around 52 percent of internships are paid. This trend of older interns is seen by some as being harmful to younger workers. They say that these older interns are pushing younger workers out of entry-level jobs. The unemployment rate for 20 to 24 year olds is 15 percent, while for 16 to 19 year olds it is 24 percent.

But there are paid internships available. InternshipCrossing, a job aggregator site for internships, has around 19,000 positions listed, out of which around 3,000 are paid positions.

Roger Croft
Editorial Coordinator

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