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Building Bridges to Success: The Pros of Providing Paid Hospitality Internships

The Benefits of Offering Paid Hospitality Internships


Internships have become an essential part of a student’s journey to improve their resume skills before entering the workforce. It not only benefits the students but also helps organizations proactively fill their recruiting funnel for the future. While there is an ongoing debate about whether or not paid internships are worth the time and money, there are numerous advantages to offering them.


  1. Access to a New Pipeline of Workers: With the current tight labor market, internships provide an opportunity for companies to tap into a pool of enthusiastic young individuals who are eager to break into the hospitality field. By offering internships, organizations can cultivate relationships with potential future employees at a time when qualified candidates are scarce.


  1. Test-Driving Potential Employees: Internships allow organizations to evaluate interns before committing to offering them a full-time role. This not only benefits the company in finding the right fit but also allows interns to gain valuable insights into the company culture, work environment, and the roles they may potentially fill. In fact, according to the 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship and Co-Op Survey, 67.7 percent of interns ended up working in the same company where they interned.


  1. A Low or No-Cost Resource: Interns can be a cost-effective solution to help organizations handle their workload. By adding interns to the labor pool, companies can lighten the workload of their existing team members. Additionally, younger interns often bring fresh ideas and talent to the table, benefiting the organization as a whole.


Should Companies Pay Interns?


The decision of whether to pay interns raises both legal and moral considerations. Legally, if an intern is contributing to the company’s bottom line, they must be paid at least minimum wage. However, if the intern is fulfilling a more mentorship role and not directly adding value to the organization, they may not require a salary or hourly wage. Nevertheless, this approach can be risky, as recent lawsuits have alleged unpaid internships to be a form of unpaid slave labor. Given the rapid speed at which social media can spread negative news, it is worth reconsidering the notion of unpaid internships, depending on the role and responsibilities involved.


Morally, paying interns for their hard work aligns with the principles of the worker/employer contract. Compensation not only improves the intern’s satisfaction but also increases the chances of them returning to the organization once college or high school is over. Furthermore, happy employees serve as strong brand ambassadors, which can positively impact potential customers and future interns. However, it is essential to remember that bad news spreads faster than good news. Therefore, the question arises: Is not paying an intern worth the potential damage to the company’s reputation if the relationship turns sour?


In conclusion, while there may be differing opinions on whether paid internships are worth the time and money, the advantages of offering paid hospitality internships are evident. By securing access to an eager pool of young talent, evaluating potential employees, and leveraging low or no-cost resources, organizations can benefit greatly from establishing internship programs. In terms of payment, considering the legal and moral implications, offering compensation can enhance intern satisfaction and improve the company’s overall reputation. Ultimately, the decision to pay interns rests with the organization, as they must weigh the risks and rewards based on their specific circumstances and the responsibilities assigned to the interns.


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