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New study finds 78% of companies in MENA will hire interns to cut costs. But is it labor exploitation?

According to a recent survey, companies want to identify new talent

New study finds 78% of companies in MENA will hire interns to cut costs. But is it labor exploitation?
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Know someone who might need an internship? A new study says this might be the best time to land a dream opportunity as firms in the MENA region are on an intern hiring spree. But a word of caution before joining, 78% of companies said they are hiring interns this year mainly to reduce labor costs. 

A recent survey by job portal Bayt states that almost all businesses in the region will be reducing labor-related expenses, filling temporary positions and recognizing the potential for upcoming openings. Around 70% said internships allow them to identify talent for future positions. 

The intern hiring spree will cover various sectors, including customer service, digital marketing, accounting, banking and finance, human resources and recruiting, and graphic design. 

The findings of the survey, conducted with over 2,400 participants from all GCC countries and others in the region, revealed that 92% of participants believe that internships increase fresh graduates’ employment prospects after graduation.

“Through internships, students gain hands-on experience of the professional world by performing tasks and duties usually conducted by employees in the chosen field,” said Bayt’s HR Director, Ola Haddad. 

Compared to full-time employees, interns are typically paid less and, in some cases, not at all. According to experts, this allows companies to save on labor costs while still receiving the benefits of additional labor. While some companies may rely too heavily on interns, using them as a substitute for hiring full-time employees can lead to exploitation and harm the company’s reputation.

Enterprises need to recognize that interns are only temporary solutions to close the skill gap in the workforce.

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