Vancouver Technology firm Hootsuite has been under fire from local backlash in the last couple of days for their practice in unpaid internships positions that they have been offering to new graduates and workers.
The Vancouver Reddit thread has signified the bigger problem of worker exploitation in the local technology sector in BC. In the thread, commenters’ have pointed out that many tech start ups in Vancouver are offering unpaid intern positions to perform tasks that are seemingly looking for people who have the proper education requirement and work experience.
Although this is a grey line in some peoples’ opinion, The BC Employment Standards Act and Regulations states differently. The difference between a practicum and an internship clearly stated, “A practicum is not considered “work”, but apprenticeship training or an internship is… An apprentice is being trained while working for an employer and as such is performing work and must be paid wages.” (BC Employment Standards, 2013)
Hootsuite’s Meeting Room
Hootsuite’s Nap Room
Hootsuite’s Yoga Studio
The technology sector is booming in Vancouver and Hootsuite is one of the most successful companies out of them all. So successful, they recently publicized their new office (April 5th, 2013) in which Hootsuite invested $1 million dollars by “adding a private yoga studio, gym, and yes, the obligatory startup office nap room. Oh, and don’t forget: free beer on Fridays, on tap in the kitchen.” wrote VentureBeat.com writer John Koetsier.
The market is flooded with unpaid intern positions rather than entry-level positions. By taking a look at the local Craigslist job posting section, you will see how many companies are trying to exploit workers. They are not posting/looking for people without any experience instead some employers go as far as to say that applicants need a 2+ years to even be considered.
Why does this matter?
As a group of recent graduates from local educational intuitions, we feel this is an important subject within our industry. Our focus is to help small local businesses in the Vancouver area with their digital web presence and we see the relevance of this viral uproar that has now caught the eye of main stream media.
From all the local and national media attention, Hootsuite has now looked into their policies internally and have decided to pay current interns and interns who were working with them in the past 6 months. This isn’t Hootsuite going above and beyond; above and beyond would be to pay all previous interns, although this is a good start. Let it be known young workers do deserve to be paid in Vancouver, BC and it is the law.
Good job internet.