Another unpaid researcher post in UK academia, this time UCL. Shameful.

Briefly:

UCL and the Anna Freud Centre are openly advertising for a 6 month researcher post, a full time job doing real work, with no pay at all.

http://www.annafreud.org/data/files/jobs/347/RA-Interns-ERIC-D-Pilot-Study-PR.pdf

This isn't just distasteful. In the media, and in politics, it is now recognised that unpaid internships are harmful to the culture of these professions: unpaid entry posts mean that the children of wealthy parents get in, get ahead, and do better, because their families can afford to give them money to pay rent and live in London while they earn no salary.  

Unequal entrance to professions for the children of wealthy parents exaggerates an already unequal society. I think you could also argue – though I am happy to agree this is a more tenuous point – that since lower levels of wealth and income are associated with specific ethnic groups, this employment policy from universities is frankly racist.

This isn't someone helping someone out occasionally to get a little experience, whatever you might think of that: the advert is for six months of full time work in a large institution, completely unpaid.

The opportunities of the next generation, and the shape of our professions, are being determined by the wealth of peoples' parents.

It's especially sad to see this being driven so openly in academia.

I think we need a national debate on whether these kinds of posts are okay.

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