Generation i, for Italy it was quite a old story since….but now in US and throughout the world, Temporary, unregulated and often unpaid, the internship has become the route to professional work
“DON’T talk to the press. Have a good attitude. Always say yes. You are not here to change the world.” And ladies, please, “Do not put us in a position to remind or suggest what qualifies as proper attire.”
The internship—a spell of CV-burnishing work experience—is now ubiquitous across America and beyond. This year young Americans will complete perhaps 1m such placements; Google alone recruited 3,000 interns this summer, promising them the chance to “do cool things that matter”. Brussels and Luxembourg are the summer homes of 1,400stagiaires, or embryonic Eurocrats, doing five-month spells at the European Commission. The “Big Four” audit companies—Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)—will employ more than 30,000 interns this year. Bank of China runs an eight-week programme (“full of contentment, yet indescribable”, according to an intern quoted on its website); Alibaba, a Chinese online-retailing behemoth, has a global scheme. Infosys, an Indian tech giant, brings 150 interns from around the world to Bangalore each year.
More than half of investment-banking recruits at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley come via their intern programmes. Selection processes in banks are as gruelling as for new hires—and pay is as generous. Richard earned £45,000 ($75,000) pro rata, the same as a first-year employee.