One of the big topics behind the scenes at Pangea.app these past few months has been whether to allow unpaid opportunities for students.
After much reflection, we’ve decided that doing so would be antithetical to our values and not in the best interest of our community—or society—as a whole. Here is why Pangea.app will only be allowing paid opportunities for students:
1. Every Student Should Be Able to Afford Opportunities for Growth
Companies should always be trying to attract the best talent. When a company offers an unpaid opportunity students who can’t afford to not get paid can’t explore the opportunity. This is bad for business and bad for society.
You should want the BEST! Why would you want students who would be the best addition to your team to not even look at the role?
Unpaid opportunities only benefit students with a privileged economic background. And since getting experience is critical to enhancing your future employability, unpaid opportunities keep students who are trying to climb the ladder from climbing.
At Pangea.app we care deeply about providing more equal access to opportunity. Unpaid opportunities—outside of volunteering for community non-profits—are antithetical to this goal.
Unpaid opportunities keep students who are trying to climb the ladder from climbing.
2. We Want Students to do Real Work
Unpaid work is actually illegal if it benefits the company more than the student.
We exist to help students to become an integral part of your team and have an outsized impact on your organization. Unpaid work makes this impossible without putting our clients at significant legal risk.
Other companies in our space actually make money off of enabling companies to hire unpaid students, pocketing the entire amount (sometimes thousands of dollars!). In essence, it’s like charging a 100% marketplace fee on the student. At best it’s a gatekeeper for the status quo of white-collar employment, and, at worst, against the law.
If a company is willing to pay to make a posting, we’d prefer that the student get paid! After all, the student’s the one truly creating the value in that engagement.
At best it’s a gatekeeper for the status quo of white-collar employment, and, at worst, against the law.
3. It’s Important to Value People
One of my key tenants of management is to ensure everyone feels valued. I’ve made mistakes where I didn’t prioritize the talent I had in front of me and great people decided to take other opportunities. If people don’t feel valued, they’ll start to not care (or, even worse, resent you).
You want people to care, and you certainly don’t want people to resent you.
When an employer comes to us asking what’s the lowest they can pay, I tell them Pangea is not the place for them. If they want to pay someone $5 an hour, the students is NOT going to care about the work and is going to feel deeply taken advantage of. People won’t want to work for you if they feel they are getting taken advantage of.
We’ve discovered that it’s always better to err on the side of generosity than try to short-change people who are helping you succeed.