By Nathan Parcells
SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- It's no secret employee pay is an essential aspect of every company. A great salary and benefits package can win the interest of even the most happy employed professional. But what about the power of pay when it comes to your interns?
The conversation surrounding internship compensation has been in the news because of several unpaid-internship lawsuits. They included a few big name (and also big budget) employers including Fox Searchlight, Donna Karan and Conde Nast. Even in light of these lawsuits, unpaid internships are still thriving. In fact, according to a recent InternMatch survey, 36.9% of companies still offer unpaid internships or internships that pay less than minimum wage.
It's time for employers to wise up to the fact that pay, even in terms of your internship program, can have numerous powerful, positive, lasting effects on your company. Still not sold? Consider these tagalong benefits of transitioning your internships from unpaid to paid:
A boost to your intern applicant pool
If your internship job listings aren't drawing in much more than a few tumbleweeds or chirping crickets, there's one thing you can do to spike interest: pay. On InternMatch we typically see two and a half times more applicants applying to paid internships than their unpaid counterparts.
Let's face it: Taking on an unpaid internship is a privilege because it isn't cheap. There's the commute, rent, general higher cost of living in a city and a whole slew of other monetary burdens placed on students and recent graduates just looking to gain experience. But offering at least the federal minimum wage to interns opens the door to students who may not have been able to accept an unpaid internship due to lack of funds or because they were making time for the part-time or full-time job helping them make ends meet.