Research Output

Can Pay, Should Pay? Comparing employer and student outcomes of paid and unpaid work opportunities

  In a time of high youth unemployment, when relevant work experience is often cited as the most important factor in finding a graduate job, computing students are being advised to pursue work placements or other work experience during their studies to boost their employability on graduation. Does it matter whether work experience is paid or unpaid? The aim of the paper is to address the core issues underpinning this debate, specifically with regard to ICT students and employers. A review of the published literature informs survey research, collecting data from students and employers with experience of paid placements and unpaid work experience. Initial findings indicate positive outcomes for students and employers from both paid and unpaid work. However, outcomes suggest that employers offering paid placements hold definite views on the benefits of so doing for both them and for the students they take on placements. Students, meanwhile, emphasise that unpaid work experience is no longer a viable pursuit for the majority of students.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Publication Status:

    Unpublished

Citation

Smith, C. F., Smith, S. & Irving, C. Can Pay, Should Pay? Comparing employer and student outcomes of paid and unpaid work opportunities. Paper presented at HEA STEM Conference, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

Authors

Keywords

Student employability; work experience; work placements; volunteering; internships;

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