Which is Better for Your Career: an Unpaid or Paid Hospitality Internship?
What’s a better long-term career decision: to gain work experience through an unpaid or paid hospitality internship? Some may say that it doesn’t matter; that the experience you get and the connections you make during hotel internships, whether paid or unpaid, are equally beneficial. Unfortunately, that may not be so.
A recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) showed that paid internships offer substantial benefits over unpaid internships. Not only will you likely spend more time participating in activities that are more relevant to your professional career development, you’ll have the potential to land a job faster and even earn a higher salary. Executive Director of NACE, Marilyn Mackes, adds:
“Students with a paid internship have a decided advantage in the job market over those who did an unpaid internship or didn’t do an internship at all…
Results show that paid interns spent 42 percent of their time on professional duties and just 25 percent on clerical and non-essential functions; unpaid interns spent 31 percent of their time on clerical and non-essential work and 30 percent on professional tasks.”
Relevant work experience during an internship is key. Nearly 75 percent of employers surveyed for NACE’s Job outlook 2012 study said that the amount of pertinent professional experience a candidate has plays heavily into their decision to hire.