York U’s Policy on Posting Unpaid Jobs

In Universities, Unpaid Internships on September 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm
No Money

Credit: Alina Sofia on flickr

Below is the response I received from York University after writing to ask for details of their policy on posting unpaid job opportunities. I will be following up with an email that details the concerns unpaid internships pose and will post that response as and when it is received.

The bottom line seems to be that the university includes unpaid positions as opportunities for experience. At first blush this might not read as problematic. However, it ignores the fact that these opportunities are only accessible to those that can afford to work for free for what is often a significant period of time and it fails to see the problems associated with unregulated, unmonitored, unpaid jobs. That universities see no problem with these postings and present them to their students and graduates only helps to normalize the idea of performing unpaid work to gain skills.

Dear Carley,

Thanks so much for your e-mail.  Many York students and recent graduates are interested in building career-related skills, gaining experience in a work environment, trying on a job or organization as a means of career exploration, and expanding their networks.  As such the Career Centre posts a variety of opportunities for students and new graduates to connect with employers from various industries including paid, unpaid and volunteer positions.  Part of our mandate is to help students and new graduates develop skills and awareness regarding the breadth of opportunities that may be available to them and the importance of researching organizations and their opportunities to ensure they are a good fit for them.  

We do have guidelines for reviewing employers and the positions they want to post through our online system. For example, if an organization is unfamiliar to us, we take measures to research the organization further. This may include everything from contacting the organization directly to get clarification about the position or contacting our colleagues at other university career centre’s to see if they’ve had any interactions with the particular organization.  If we are concerned the organization or job posting may not legitimate, then we do not post it.  

Did you have a concern about a particular posting?  If so, please let me know.  Thanks so much for your query and if you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Kind regards,


  1. […] in the systemic barriers young people face today as they attempt to enter the modern workforce. I pressed York on their practices, and after a professor and researcher drew attention to the issue, York […]

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