x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Graduates in West paying to work

Having trouble finding a job? Or even worse, trying to get your children out of the house after they leave college?

Having trouble finding a job? Or even worse, trying to get your children out of the house after they leave college? You might want to take a leaf out of the book of young interns in the US and Britain. Faced with the ignominy of unemployment after years of studying and achieving great grades, they are resorting to one of the best-known ways of solving a problem: throwing money at it.

In some cases, the money is going to a good cause, with employers donating internships for charity auctions. At a recent auction for the NSPCC, a children's charity in Britain, a month's working for free at the auctioneer Christie's sold for US$4,500 (Dh16,528), while a week at Rothschild, the investment bank, went for $1,500. Even some Masters of Business Administration (MBA) graduates are finding that they need to pay to get on the job ladder.

I wonder if they taught them that at business school? But at a time when it's harder to get a job than good grades, middle-class children are persuading their parents to dip into their pockets one more time. Richard Glasson, the chief executive of Gyro International, a marketing company, thinks the idea is absurd and "beyond parody". "First, everyone went to get an MBA. Now everyone wants work experience," says Mr Glasson.

"I think employers want to see initiative and a bit of spunk. I would rather see six months at Voluntary Services Overseas than a paid internship." Mr Glasson has children of his own. So would he pay for them to work? "Absolutely not." There are no reports of this heinous habit coming to the Middle East, although it is probably only a matter of time. This is quite a boost for employers, throwing up a new business model in the process.

In the past, you used to pay a modest amount for running around making tea and picking up errands in the hope that this was good experience. Now, if companies can get people to pay them to work, there is no end to the amount of people they could employ. Soon, no doubt, there will be full employment until everybody runs out of money, even the parents. @Email:rwright@thenational.ae