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该不该给实习生开工资

Sanjay Sanghoee 2014年04月24日

实习生领工资合情合理,但到底要不要给实习生开工资应该由各家公司自己来决定,不能变成最低工资那样的强制性规定。如果强制各公司给所有实习生开工资,实习岗位可能会大量减少,很多学生可能失去体验职场生活的机会,最终得不偿失。

    春去夏来,许多大学生正在计划自己的假期,而希望体验一下职场生活的大学生则会去寻找实习机会。

    据估计,美国公司每年约聘用150万名实习生,其中一半没有工资。因为有机会一脚踏入职场,有人为此而心存感激,免费工作对他们来说没什么大不了的。但2010年电影《黑天鹅》(Black Swan)剧组工作的实习生提出的集体诉讼却改变了这种思维,而且产生了深远的影响。这些实习生要求剧组支付工作报酬,同时希望禁止电影公司福克斯探照灯(Fox Searchlight)在未来继续使用无薪实习生。

    不论诉讼结果如何,它都说明了很多问题:各家公司应该如何衡量实习生工作的价值?实习生是否有权利像正式员工一样获得工资?

    实习生获得薪水是非常合理的事。向实习生提供薪水以支付生活开支是公平的做法,尤其是对于来自低收入家庭的年轻人而言,因为他们无力承担无薪实习生活。此外,向实习生支付薪水也可以帮助雇主吸引更优秀的人才。例如,谷歌(Google)积极招聘实习生,同时给实习生提供丰厚的薪水,安排他们参加实质性的项目。

    然而,把是否应该向实习生支付薪水上升到国家最低工资辩论的高度却并不是正确的做法。实习在很大程度上是一种训练,适用于普通工作的规定却不一定适用于实习。是否要向实习生支付薪水,应该是雇主自行决定的事情,与法律无关。

    这是因为,不论是否有薪酬,实习都能带来很多好处;有时候,实习生从实习经历中获得的收益要超过他们服务的公司所获收益。最大的好处是纯粹的工作经历。实习生对于自己希望进入的行业或职业可以获得有价值的见解。很少有人一开始就高高在上;大多数人都是从底层做起,一步步走向成功。

    此外,实习还可以教给实习生良好的职业道德,这是在学校中学不到的东西。年轻人在进入竞争激烈的职场之前,必须学会谦逊,接受工作没有高低贵贱之分的这种观念,认可行政管理系统等。虽然在一家快餐店当收银员也能获得这些技能,但如果年轻人希望成为一名时装设计师,一家优秀时装设计公司的工作经验和推荐比在麦当劳(McDonalds)的工作会更有意义。

    另外需要考虑的一点是:商界的一条简单信条是,获得的报酬越多,“了解”自己工作内容的机会便越少。在面试中或职场上,实习生,尤其是无薪实习生,很少需要遵守与正式员工同样严格的标准。人们对实习生的预期往往更低,允许他们犯更多错误。这种情况更有利于年轻人成长,因为他们需要时间、培训和耐心,才能达到公司要求的能力水平。

    在大学期间,笔者曾打过三份工:两份是在华尔街经纪公司的无薪实习,一份是在零售店担任有薪兼职售货员。实习期间,笔者的工作就是接电话、冲咖啡、打印信件等等。从事三份工作并不轻松,但满负荷的工作让我不得不将自我放在一边,学会如何工作。当我在投资银行获得第一份正式工作后不得不在高压环境下长时间工作时,我可以应付自如。在银行的实习或许没有给我实实在在的薪酬,但却为我提供了宝贵的培训。

    通过法律诉讼来压制无薪酬实习的危险在于,许多公司可能出于预算限制或纯粹因为一种理念,于是干脆缩减、甚至完全取消实习项目。

    如果没有实习生,公司可能会受到不利影响,但对于毕业生而言同样如此。如果没有实习计划,许多年轻人将没有机会学习关于工作与生活的重要经验,为下一步发展做好准备。这是社会契约中应该保持的一个重要部分。

    或许,我们是不是可以找到一个在对所有人都有利的中间地带呢?(财富中文网)

    本文作者桑贾伊•桑赫伊是一位政治和商业评论员。他曾在拉扎德和德利佳华两家投资银行任职,还曾为对冲基金Ramius效力。桑赫伊目前是中端市场广播服务提供商戴维森媒体集团的董事。作者拥有哥伦比亚大学商学院的工商管理硕士学位,还著有两部惊悚小说。

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    As we head from spring into summer, many college students are planning their vacations while those looking to get their first taste of the working world are likely hunting for internships.

    It is estimated that U.S. companies hire about 1.5 million interns each year, half of them on anunpaid basis. Working for free might not be a big deal for some who are just grateful to have their foot in the door, but a class-action lawsuit led by interns who worked on the set of the 2010 film, Black Swan, could change that mindset and have far-reaching implications. The plaintiffs want back pay for their work and seek to bar the film's producer, Fox Searchlight, from using unpaid interns in the future.

    However the lawsuit goes, it could say a lot about how companies should value the work of interns and whether interns have a right to a paycheck like employees

    It's perfectly reasonable for interns to be paid. Stipends for living expenses are only fair, especially for young people from low-income households, who may not otherwise be able to afford an unpaid internship. Paying interns also helps employers draw better talent, such as atGoogle (GOOG), which actively recruits interns and pays them handsomely for working on substantive projects.

    Nevertheless, it would be wrong to elevate the fight over intern pay to the level of seriousness accorded to the ongoing debate over raising the federal minimum wage. For the most part, internships are training wheels, and the rules applied to them shouldn't be the same as a regular job. The decision to pay interns should really be at the discretion of employers -- not a matter of law.

    This is simply because there are many benefits to internships, regardless of whether it's paid or not; and at times, interns get a lot more out of the internship than the companies they intern for. The biggest benefit is pure work experience. Interns often gain valuable insight into industries and careers that they're looking to pursue. Few start at the top; most successful people work their way up from humble tasks.

    Internships also teach work ethic, which young people don't necessarily pick up in school. Lessons such as humility, the acceptance that no task is beneath one's dignity, and recognition of the chain of command, are all important to learn before a young person is ready to enter a competitive workforce. True, some of those skills can also be acquired as a cashier at a fast-food restaurant but if a young person wants to become a fashion designer, for instance, work experience and a reference from a good fashion design house is a lot more relevant than one from McDonalds (MCD).

    Another thing to consider: A simple tenet of the business world is that the more you get paid, the less runway you have to "learn" your job. Interns, especially unpaid ones, are rarely held to the same rigorous standards during the interview process or in the workplace as actual employees are. The expectations of interns in general are lower, and tolerance for mistakes is higher. That's to the benefit of young people, who need time, training, and patience to reach the level of skill that businesses require.

    During college I held three gigs: two unpaid internships at Wall Street brokerage houses, and a paid part-time job as a sales associate at a retail store. In my internships, I answered phones, fetched coffee, typed up letters, and many other things. Having three gigs was not easy, but the full load forced me to put my ego aside and learn to work. When I got to my first real job in investment banking and had to work long hours in a high-pressure environment, I was able to handle it. My banking internships may not have paid me, but they did provide me with useful training.

    The danger with filing lawsuits to squash unpaid internships is that many companies, either due to budgetary constraints or simply as a philosophy, may curtail or even kill their internship programs in response.

    And while businesses would certainly be worse off without interns, the reverse holds true as well. Without these programs, many young men and women would lose the chance to learn important lessons about work and life that could prepare them for the next step in their development. It is an essential part of our social contract that should be maintained.

    Perhaps there is some middle ground to be found that benefits everyone?

    Sanjay Sanghoee is a political and business commentator. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, as well as at hedge fund Ramius. Sanghoee sits on the board of Davidson Media Group, a mid-market radio station operator. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and is also the author of two thriller novels.

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