Unpaid internships are on the nose around the world as even entry-level workers rebel against exploitation, but a "job" ad spotted by Vulture South takes the practice to new depths.
The unpaid IT Systems Engineer internship ad calls for someone capable of helping engineers run up Windows servers for Microsoft small business server, Exchange, and Office 365. The successful applicant will also be comfortable in virtualised environments and be able to install and configure routers, modems and switches, preferably as a result of holding a Cisco certification. The ability to repair “desktops, servers and laptops” is also required.
The only catch: you won't get paid for as much as three months – and, Vulture South would guess, you won't get paid after that because the ad will just get reposted for the next sucker.
For some reason, this does not sound like a “traineeship” to Vulture South: it's a fully-fledged field tech, with those two qualifications that most of us lack: independent means, and a willingness to forgo a sysadmin's usual income.
We mailed the contact for the job asking why they're not wiling to pay. In a colossal non-surprise, the advertiser hasn't responded.
Behind all this frivolity are serious issues.
The first is simple: unpaid internships are, in Australia, of at best questionable legality.
Then there's the attitude of Gumtree, eBay's cheaper-and-cheerful online ads brand. Some job boards – we single out Seek for praise, since it yanks dodgy ads as fast as it spots them – don't put up with this sort of thing (as a contact pointed out to Vulture South, advertisers are trying to get around this by avoiding the word "unpaid" on Seek).
So why does eBay allow this kind of thing?
It won't surprise readers to find that Gumtree considers the advertisements to be advertisers' responsibility. In a statement provided to Vulture South, the company said:
“Gumtree is a community marketplace and we rely on our users’ feedback to keep the site friendly, safe and relevant for everyone.
“Gumtree will remove any reported ads which breach our policies or Australia’s employment laws. We strongly encourage users to report concerning or suspicious ads using the ‘report ad’ button.”
Get clicking, Vulture buddies. ®