Why Most Companies Don’t Pay Internships in Nigeria



Several graduates in Nigeria join job market each year, but there are questions raised as to why employers don’t have salary packages for interns. While that is the case, there are several reasons as to why interns walk home empty handed.

A senior human resource manager at a real estate company says “they believe interns join the company to learn”. Though their input is important, the company benefits the individual more than what the intern benefits the company. For this reason, they opt not to pay them. But he argues that when the money is allocated for temporary staff, sometimes they use some to pay interns.

Interns often apply for internship or employment in the hope of being paid something to sustain them, but end up earning zero salary. We have witnessed several cases where interns quit because the lifestyle is not sustainable. To be honest, it’s difficult for companies to expect someone from college to commute every day, for three months, without a single penny from the company coffer. But as expected, the company is justified not to pay them since they provide space and facilities to the interns, which help them learn practical skills.

Another major reason why most interns are not paid in Nigeria is because there is no policy that guide companies in regards to what interns and temporary staff should be paid. Since this is open, companies avoid having incentives for this category of workers to avoid losses.

According to one HR Director in the banking industry, “it’s a favour the companies do for interns, so they should not expect to earn anything”. These sentiments are echoed by many other human resource managers who believe that interns should provide free services to their companies.

From the explanation above, it’s highly demoralizing for student who wish to intern in various companies across Nigeria, but there should be no cause for alarm because some companies do pay interns. It’s upon you to identify such companies and drop your application letter. Some of the companies that pay interns include insurance, audit firms,NGOs and oil companies. Most banks don’t pay.