Recruitment firms can prevent interns from being exploited

Employers find interns to be more manageable than full-time workers and more flexible with skills as well as cheaper to hire.

PETALING JAYA: With the demand for interns rising due to the economic setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a recruitment firm has sought to emphasise the need to ensure the protection of students seeking such positions.

Speaking to FMT, ManpowerGroup country manager Sam Haggag claimed that recruiters played an important role in preventing interns from being exploited.

As an intermediary between jobseekers and employers, he said, a recruitment agency would have to facilitate the communication of job opportunities and match talents to roles.

“Agencies should have a clear understanding of the job scope and the capabilities of available candidates,” he added.

Prior to onboarding interns, he said, recruitment managers should provide a clear description of the activities required of them and what they would have to achieve as well as the methods used to evaluate outcomes.

“If the intern fails to meet the outcomes, then there should be policies in place to understand the underlying issues,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the key benefit of an internship is for the students to learn from mistakes.”

According to Internspoon, an online platform that connects students to employers, the demand for interns has lately risen because many companies are now looking for workers they can hire cheaply.

“If something is just a temporary job and an employer needs someone for it, there’s no need to hire someone full-time,” an Internspoon spokesman said in a recent interview with FMT.

She said interns were especially in demand for operational work in customer support and graphic design and were “very useful in the execution of projects and the support of business teams”.

Universiti Putra Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor Iqbal Saripan said interns would be supervised by lecturers to prevent them from being exploited.

“The lecturers keep track of their progress,” he said. “They will visit the premises, and if they find that the premises or activities do not meet the requirements of the internship, the students will be asked to go to another company.”

However, he urged students to work hard to adapt themselves to their working environments.

“We believe we have prepared them adequately in terms of knowledge, but they need to be creative, resilient and resourceful,” he said. “They will only get wiser through the internship experience.”