Little incentive for firms to pay students well

Why should there be a standard policy on internship allowances or salaries (Interns' pay shows how much firms value them, by Mr Frankie Mao; May 6)?

There is little incentive for companies to pay more and invest in the interns' careers because interns are transient workers and may not return to join the firm after their studies.

Furthermore, interns are there to learn skills and receive on-the-job training; why should a company pay for them to learn?

Companies are not obliged to hire interns, and a significant number hold the view that taking apprentices is a "national service" they have to perform.

Certainly, interns should not work for free.

But what they get is an allowance, not a salary, as a token of appreciation to help them with their daily meals and transport costs.

Internships should be viewed as part of the educational process.

Educational institutions must work with employers to brief students on the work environment, working arrangement and expected salaries or allowances.

Student interns should be clear on this before accepting and starting the internship.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'Little incentive for firms to pay students well'. Print Edition | Subscribe