Business Operations
4 min.

Paid internships, an asset for your company

Véronique Forest
Published on 7 Feb 2024
Hand with a glove holding a jar filled with coins, behind which is a pharmacy background.

Anyone who provides a service, whether employee or intern, should receive remuneration.

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And I’m talking about compensation, not a bonus. Interns make a direct contribution to the success of companies, and their work should be recognized for its true worth.

Without exception, whether the laws in place require it or not. Interns are not free labor and should always be treated as full-fledged employees. So it’s to your advantage to offer paid internships.

4 good reasons to offer a paid internship

Unpaid internships often mean that interns have to hold down a second job in order to support their expenses. As a result, their energy is not 100% focused on their internship. They are less productive, creative and available to make a real contribution to your company.

What’s more, unpaid internships are not possible for everyone, due to family or economic circumstances, for example. They therefore contribute to creating inequalities between candidates when they officially enter the job market.

Let’s face it, unpaid internships are generally only available to the privileged few.

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Paying your interns directly contributes to improving their well-being and professional future, and ensures that you recruit the best candidates.

Here are 4 reasons to convince you to offer remuneration to your interns.

1. Paid internships shape your employer brand

Properly compensating your interns sends the message that you care about the well-being of your team members and value their contribution, regardless of their employment status. It also contributes greatly to building your employer brand and positively influences your reputation.

Offering paid internships also demonstrates your leadership as a company. It positions you as an employer of choice.

2. Paid internships make recruiting easier

If you offer paid internships when it’s not the norm in your industry, you’ll stand out from the crowd. This will make it easier to recruit your interns.

In addition, paid internships often attract more applicants, who are typically more qualified and motivated. You’re likely to discover new talent through your internship program.

Who knows, you might even offer a permanent position to the most successful and promising interns. This can be a very good strategy for recruiting employees in industries more affected by labor shortages, such as restaurants, for example.

3. Paid internships contribute to your corporate culture

Paid internships contribute directly to building a strong corporate culture. They also enhance the employee experience and solidify your team members’ commitment to the organization.

Interns who have a positive experience with your company will tend to speak positively about you to those around them. They become positive ambassadors and contribute positively to your reputation.

By offering paid internships, you also support diversity and inclusion within your team.

4. Paid internships improve employee motivation and productivity

Interns have a lot to contribute to an organization, even if they’re just starting out.

They can give your employees an important helping hand on certain projects, taking on the simpler tasks. In this way, they can learn more about the processes in place and develop their knowledge.

Your permanent employees can also develop their leadership skills by acting as mentors to your interns. You may discover that some of them have a natural aptitude for management. You can then help them develop their careers in this direction if they are interested.

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Go beyond

To avoid a lack of equity within your team, make sure your trainees are paid fairly. If you can afford it, try to offer more than the legal minimum wage. By doing so, you send a clear message that their work is important and recognized.

It’s essential to pay your interns to match the value they bring to your organization. But it’s also normal for their remuneration to vary according to their experience and responsibilities.

To determine what salary to offer, ask yourself a few questions:

Are they in their final year of study?
Do they have responsibilities similar to those of a permanent employee?
Is this their first internship?

There are also a number of grants and other incentives offered by governments, educational establishments or even private organizations to finance all or part of your interns’ salaries. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of them.

The Agendrix experience

At Agendrix, all interns are paid. They have the same status as any of our other employees and are treated with the same respect. Quite simply, they’re an integral part of the team.

In fact, several interns have become full-time employees following their studies. It’s a proven recruitment strategy.

Don’t wait for governments to legislate on the subject before you start paying your interns!

The current state of intern compensation

In Quebec, employers are not obliged to pay their interns. Interns therefore do not have employee status, and are not always protected against work-related accidents unless they are paid, for example.

Nevertheless, many companies decide to offer paid internships. Some do so out of concern for the interns’ well-being, others because it is standard practice in their industry, or because they are obliged to do so under an agreement with an educational establishment.

In any case, the absence of a clear law requiring all employers to remunerate their interns creates a great deal of inequity.

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