Should Students Eschew Intern Opportunities to Be Digital Nomads?

nomads
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How does this statement make you feel?

The next generation workforce will be far more prepared to deal with the realities of future employment if they start working remotely now.

I came across that statement in a Forbes article written by futurist writer Kavi Guppta, entitled Students: Screw The Internship, Learn To Work Remotely. Naturally I had to read this one.

The Premise

Guppta’s premise for his article is that internships are not nearly as valuable to a student as most people think they are, especially in companies that are NOT engineering or technology related. He says “It’s questionable how likely prospective students and new workers angling for a position in their “dream organizations” are even guaranteed a spot in the company after completing an internship. In fact, studies show that the majority of interns (paid and unpaid) will not receive a job offer.” He goes on further to ask

“If internships matter so much to the development of our young workforce, then why are they so painstakingly difficult to obtain? Why do internship programs have to be a brutal introduction to the workforce? And why aren’t there consistent parameters in place to maintain a program that benefits participants and creates value for the company that’s hiring?”

I know from experience that many companies view interns as cheap, if not free labor. Many have been disappointed to know that the US Department of Labor says that internships cannot be unpaid if the company derives any value from the student’s labor.

International Perspective

Guppta is currently an Australian, but he claims to be a digital nomad. He has worked on projects around the world. As a result of his experience he tells students that it is unnecessary for them to attach themselves to a particular company at a particular location in order to get the work experience they need in order to be successful later in life. He says;

“I believe young people can look beyond their local borders to secure paid work and experience without leaving the dorm room or their homes. When you broaden the playing field, your options are no longer limited. The next generation workforce will be far more prepared to deal with the realities of future employment if they start working remotely now.”

He does tell them that they still have to earn the spot and it will be competitive. It is not as simple as logging online and immediately finding a job, but the options are there if you broaden your horizon. He feels that this may be the only way to give the 600 million global young people work experience to prepare them for the world of work.

Guppta feels that this generation of workers will have to lobby for changes in archaic structures and laws that inhibit workers’ opportunities. Certainly here in the United States we have government mandates that are requiring many employers to backtrack from more progressive ways to employee and pay workers, such as ROWE (Results only work Environments).

He ends his article with the statement:

The first wave of new workers that stand up, experiment, and try to secure work differently will pass down a much better culture to successive waves of people. The first place we can make that change? Internships.

Are you HR people willing to experiment with a new workforce on a new idea in order to broaden the gain for both your company and for the students you employee? How many of you have gone “global” with the digital nomads you employee?

Think about it.

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