Thursday, February 5, 2009

Networks and labor markets: Internships

The British government is promoting internships as one entryway into the labor market, and as a way to increase social mobility. But the Times of London notes: Sharp middle-class elbows are winning the intern wars

"Even the Labour party is not above calling in favours from chums. Euan Blair, son of the former prime minister, did two stints as an intern in the US Congress. He also worked as a production runner on a film set in the Houses of Parliament, and had work experience at a Paris radio station owned by Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man. "

Aside from personal connections, there are starting to be some market institutions:

"Parents with less exalted connections have little choice but to stump up cash. Work experience has become a popular prize at charity auctions: just before Christmas a week’s unpaid work at ITV Productions fetched £1,260."
"Work experience has always been tricky to come by, but at the moment demand vastly outstrips supply. Wexo, Work Experience Online, whose web address is, is a Facebook-style website that matches employers with people looking for work experience. It currently has 200 companies on its books – including Armani and Sony Music – and about 2,000 young people hoping to be interns. According to Robin Kennedy, the site’s co-creator, there are more applications towards more glam sectors like marketing, fashion, and entertainment. Don’t, though, think all work experience is so exciting. The company named last year as best work experience provider was Shetland Seafood Auctions, whose seven staff provide an electronic auction service at Lerwick fish market. "

No comments: