Do Unpaid Internships Lower the Bar?

Do Unpaid Internships Lower the Bar?
Photo via Flicker CC User Gino.

That’s the claim of Sam Lubell, in his Editorial “The Intern Catch-22” for The Architect’s Newspaper. Lubell puts it this way:

“ become a staple of architecture. A rite of passage, despite the debt burden from an education that usually costs more than $30,000 a year. And it’s not just small struggling firms. Even top architects get their work done by interns. Never mind that offering unpaid internships excludes those not wealthy enough to go without pay, or just the fact that they are generally not legal. Not offering money lowers the bar all the way down the line. Soon unpaid positions become expected. The value of architecture is lowered even further.”

We agree that unpaid internships tread on murky ethical territory, but Lubell’s ultimate point, that they “lower the bar” for architecture, strikes us as a bit unfounded. It seems to us that it’s far more damaging (financially and psychologically) for those entering the profession than for architecture itself.

What do you think? Do you have unpaid interns at your firm? Have they “lowered the bar” of your work? Are unpaid internships a necessary evil in a post-Recession world? Or just plain wrong? Let us know in the comments below!

Story via The Architect’s Newspaper

About this author
Cite: Vanessa Quirk. "Do Unpaid Internships Lower the Bar?" 12 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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