Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

The Football Club Internships Survey 2022: Exploring the Value of Work Experience in Football

Internships play a significant role in providing young individuals with valuable work experience and skill development opportunities in the football industry. However, the issue of unpaid internships has generated considerable debate. While some argue that unpaid internships are necessary for gaining experience and kickstarting a career, others see them as ethically questionable. To better understand the perspectives surrounding internships in football, we conducted the Football Club Internship Survey. Our survey targeted two key groups: individuals currently in internships or those who have completed internships in the past ten years, and individuals interested in pursuing an internship in the near future.

The main objective of our survey was to gather insights into the prevalence of paid and unpaid internships, the duration of internships, the hours worked by interns, and the overall satisfaction of interns with their experiences. By collecting data directly from those involved in internships, we aimed to gain a fair assessment of work experience in the football industry. Although our results are based on individual experiences and cannot provide definitive conclusions, they do offer valuable insights into trends and patterns.

Demographics of Survey Respondents

Our survey received responses from 304 individuals from various countries around the world. The majority of respondents were in their 20s, highlighting the popularity of internships as a stepping stone in early career development. The United Kingdom was the most represented country among respondents, followed by India and the United States. Internship locations were diverse, with England being the most common, followed by Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.

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Payment Status of Internships

Of the respondents who provided payment details, 27% reported being paid for their internships, while 73% reported working in unpaid positions. The payment status varied based on factors such as the hours worked, the length of the internship, and the level of the club. Interns working more hours per week were more likely to receive payment. Among those who worked 30-40 hours per week, 37.1% were paid for their work, while only 13.5% of those working 10-20 hours per week received payment.

Average Monthly Payment and Variations

The average monthly payment for interns varied widely. The most common payment ranges were £250-500 and £500-750 per month. However, payment levels could range from less than £100 per month to over £2000 per month. Factors such as the length of the internship and the league status of the club influenced payment levels. Interns working at higher-level clubs, particularly in the top tiers of their respective leagues, were more likely to receive higher monthly wages.

Internship Length and Payment

Our survey revealed that the length of an internship often influenced payment status. Internships lasting 24+ months were the most likely to be paid, with 60% of respondents in this category receiving payment. However, as the length of the internship decreased, the likelihood of payment also decreased. Internships lasting 9-12 months had the highest proportion of paid positions (31%), while internships lasting 1-3 months had the lowest proportion of paid positions (29%).

Satisfaction with Payment

Only 5.6% of respondents strongly agreed that the pay they received during their internships was sufficient in relation to the hours worked. In contrast, 75.4% either disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. Respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the wages they received, emphasizing that fair remuneration should be provided in exchange for the hours worked.

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Factors Influencing Payment

Respondents identified various factors that should determine whether internships are paid or unpaid. While 38% believed that there was no excuse for not paying interns, other factors, such as club revenue, the league status of the club, hours worked, location, and the circumstances of the intern, were also mentioned. The majority of respondents agreed that payment should be determined by the intern’s specific circumstances, and many believed that a basic living allowance or job guarantee should be provided.

Willingness to Accept Unpaid Internships

Despite the widespread belief that all internships should be paid, a significant proportion of respondents (88%) indicated that they would still be willing to accept an unpaid internship under certain conditions. Factors such as additional allowances, guaranteed employment, a specific club or league level, a limited duration, or a basic living allowance would make unpaid internships more acceptable to respondents. This suggests that the high demand for internships, coupled with the desire for experience in the football industry, often leads individuals to accept unpaid positions, even if they believe it to be ethically wrong or financially challenging.

Moving Forward

The results of our survey shed light on the experiences and perspectives of interns in the football industry. The overwhelming dissatisfaction with payment levels, coupled with the willingness to accept unpaid internships under certain conditions, highlights the need for change. Football clubs should reassess their approach to internships, ensuring fair remuneration is provided for the valuable work performed by interns. Furthermore, the issue of accessibility and diversity within the industry needs to be addressed, as unpaid internships often create barriers for individuals who cannot afford to work without compensation.

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While our survey provides valuable insights, it is crucial for football clubs, governing bodies, and industry stakeholders to consider these findings and take proactive steps towards improving the intern experience. By providing fair wages, meaningful benefits, and inclusive opportunities, the football industry can foster a more equitable and diverse workforce, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of work produced.

FAQs

Can internships in football clubs be paid?

Yes, internships in football clubs can be paid. While our survey revealed that a majority of internships were unpaid, there were still 27% of respondents who reported receiving payment for their internships.

How long do internships in football clubs typically last?

The average length of internships in football clubs varied depending on individual circumstances. The most common length reported by respondents was 9-12 months, followed by 3-6 months and 6-9 months.

Summary

The Football Club Internship Survey 2022 explored the prevalence and payment status of internships in the football industry. Our findings indicate that while internships provide valuable work experience opportunities, the issue of unpaid internships is a significant concern. The majority of interns reported dissatisfaction with their payment, highlighting a need for fair remuneration. Additionally, many individuals expressed a willingness to accept unpaid internships under specific conditions. Moving forward, it is crucial for football clubs to reassess their approach to internships, ensuring fair payment and creating a more inclusive and diverse industry.