Almost 90% of arts internships are unpaid

A major new report finds evidence that sectors like the arts trap young people “in cycles of unpaid internships without significant benefits to their career”.

Further evidence of the “elitist practices” of the theatre, dance, TV and film industries have been revealed through major new research on the prevalence of unpaid graduate internships.

Young people looking to break into the arts are expected to undertake multiple internships – 86% of which are unpaid.

The research concludes that this failure to pay, alongside a tendency to offer internships as informal ‘favours’ to staff and their families, excludes many young people from low and moderate-income backgrounds, giving them no chance of accessing desirable jobs in the sector.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust – which commissioned the research – described the situation as a “huge social mobility issue” that “prevents young people from getting a foot on the ladder”.

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H. Michael Arrighi on Visualhunt / CC BY