Dr Mumbo

Leo’s great expectations (of unpaid interns)

Dr Mumbo knows that in 2014 internships are a crucial and important pathway into the advertising industry.

But he couldn’t help but notice that Leo Burnett is setting some pretty high standards for its unpaid interns.

An ad placed on The Loop is offering internships for two to three days a week with the prerequisite that the unpaid intern “must” “have big creative ideas that could play out on social media” and also “think strategically about how to better social ideas” (sic).

This doesn’t sound like an internship where the “final year university student or a recent graduate” will be making coffee and perfecting their filing skills.

Diligent readers will of course remember that in recent times Fairwork Australia has been cracking down on unpaid internships and reminding employers how “if a business is gaining a significant benefit as a result of engaging the person, this may indicate an employment relationship has been formed.”

A spokeswoman for the agency told Dr Mumbo that the internships were a recruitment tool for a full time position.

She added: “Leo Burnett absolutely stands by this as part of the way it selects people to join the agency – no matter what level they are. Leo Burnett is focused on attracting big thinkers, people who are ideas-focused because they know a great idea can come from anywhere.”

Leo’s of course has made a big deal about its recently-formed paid internship partnership called The Nest with client Diageo in recent months.


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