Proper pay for interns!

We’re raising the salary of our interns to the minimum wage—because it’s the right thing to do.

Harry Keller
Jun 12, 2019 · 2 min read

Most of us have been there: You’re still studying or just finished uni and the first real job is looming, usually starting with an internship. You’ve done your research, the company is nice, the people are friendly, everything seems good … but then, towards the end of the interview, you ask about pay and they respond:

“Please take into account that you’ll be learning a lot here and that it’s really an investment into your career. Also we usually make people an offer afterwards, …”

Then they drop the number and it’s 400€ per month. Or 200€. Even unpaid internships apparently still exist. The quoted line of argumentation is of course not wrong … but the problem is: 400€ (and that’s before taxes) doesn’t buy you a lot in any major city these days (including Berlin where we reside). That’s not even enough for a room, let alone going out for lunch with coworkers or doing any other activities in the new city.

Let’s be clear about this: With a salary this low, you’re out of luck without financial support from your parents or when you’re not already very privileged.

Up until recently we’ve paid interns 800€ per month before taxes, but when re-evaluating our salaries and talking to our current intern Felix, we realized that even that is not enough. For example if you’re not fresh out of university in your early 20s, then you might need to pay the full price for your health insurance. Another point to consider: Our interns have always been super skilled in the past. They go through the same interviewing process as full-timers and usually there is no noticeable difference between our full-time junior employees and interns. What they lack in experience, they make up in ambition.

With all these points considered, we’ve decided to simply pay our interns the minimum wage, which is currently ~1.513€ per month in Berlin.

Yes, this applies no matter the duration of the internship or whether it’s a mandatory one. We wouldn’t need to do this, but it is the right thing to do. How does your company handle intern salaries? What did you make as an intern in Berlin or other cities? Let us know on Twitter at @diesdasdigital.

All the wonderful interns we had over the years. Thank you Martin, Miriam, Kai, Maja, Oriëtta, Daniel and Felix — we’re happy that four of you still work with us as freelancers, employees or current interns!

diesdas.digital is a studio for strategy, design and code in Berlin, featuring a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and strategists. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. Let’s work together!

Curious to learn more? We’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and we highly recommend our Tumblr. You could also subscribe to this publication to get notified when new posts are published! That’s all. Over & out! 🛰

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