Interns used as cheap labour in China: Report

August 2nd, 2011 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 2 (IANS) Chinese students working as interns in companies are being used as cheap labour and are not being offered enough work experience relevant to their studies, says a survey by a recruitment company.

The poll by 51job.com - a Nasdaq-listed recruitment company - found internships were booming across the country.

But positions were mainly offered by companies that were short of staff. The students were also hired to do mundane tasks, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Zheng Yunying, a postgraduate student working as an intern at an international corporation, said her duties were mostly confined to making phone calls to clients and helping with files.

“I’m learning little from the internship,” she said. Zheng had hoped the company would assign tasks connected with her major subjects.

Feng Lijuan, chief human resource analyst with 51job.com, said it was common practice for companies to assign interns basic tasks.

“Students are just viewed as cheap labour by them,” Feng said.

Some students, however, are prepared to put up with menial tasks. They regard internships as extra points on their resumes and believe it helps them find good jobs after graduation.

Zheng said she took the internship because her “resume will look more attractive and it’ll be easier to find a job”.

But this acceptance only encourages companies to keep giving interns dull work, said Feng.

If students just want a prestigious name to put on their resume, there was not much incentive for companies to train them or provide learning opportunities, she said.

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