You’ve been through this: you come in at 9 AM, text your supervisor (or the Messenger group of interns, or you open the email template) — tell them you’re coming in weaving through through traffic, having barely made breakfast. The company asks you to stay a bit longer today since everyone’s trying to make the deliverables for the next big event, and you agree; anyway, you want to wait out traffic. You work, and work and work, and take two hours to commute home. You don’t get paid, this is just for experience.
We’re not a country that frequently pays interns, especially if you’re still a high schooler or in your early years of college. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice and have to take opportunities for experience. That doesn’t make the practice okay.
We just built Intern.ph: a database of Philippine companies and startups (mainly in tech) collected from anonymous reports. Although it will take a while before the practice becomes the norm, if you ever have the agency of choice, we want to lend you a hand at transparency and see what you can expect at certain companies.
If unpaid internships were challenging and constituted of work that was of substance, that would be great! More often than not, they’re exploitative and demand too much of students who are already grinding outrageous class schedules or spending large amounts on transportation and food. From the get-go, there are endless amounts of talented Filipinos who can’t justify the value-add (if the company actually provides structure and meaning into their programs or mentorship) without the pay. There’s so much talent you miss out on.
What we can do instead is share experiences with familiar names, or help bring to light the more positive work experiences we encounter. If you have an internship experience you’d like to add, you can share it at bit.ly/payinternsph.