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Perth
August 4, 2020
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Business

Minor job-seekers from exploitation to enlightenment

“Is it not a blessing that I can get a job working from home for livelihood during the pandemic and be a
relief to me, my family, especially to my parents of staying home, staying safe”, vows an
adolescent.

In return the on-line employer wants a so-called little test in the form of a report, catering to a
client’s lucrative deal and easy picking of best of three from scores of such kids’ unpaid long and
hard toil. Many a crafty employer offer fake job offers, make talented youth work for customers’
business requirements, do nothing, and earn roaring profits from free creative labor of innocent
job seekers. The shocking part is they pose in such a business-like manner that is fraught with
deceit and dismay of the childish job-seeker who is sweetly given an excuse of being a drop-out
after hard unpaid work.

Work from office is indeed faking and bluffing as the growing trend in exploiting youth labor is
the increase in unpaid internships or “work experience” that university graduates take on so
they have something good to put on their resumés. These graduates work the same as the paid
staff, in fact, many of them work the equivalent of full time or longer to make a good impression
in the hope that putting in the extra effort will guarantee them a job. It is not necessarily the
case. The same is true in retail and hospitality, with unpaid “trial shifts” as part of the interview
process. Placements that are part of university degrees are unpaid and can last for up to six or
seven weeks of full-time work, often forcing students to sacrifice paid work to fulfill the course
requirement.

This increasing trend of the exploitation of young workers is yet another way the bosses are undermining
hard fought for wages and conditions and contributing to unemployment rates. Why would businesses
employ paid workers when they can get young graduates or placement students to do the same job for
free? It is also worth noting how age and gender intersect in terms of exploitation in the workforce. The gender pay gap widens dramatically for women aged between 24 and 45. Presumably, that is the age that many women decide to have children and care for families. Similarly the percentage of women working less than full-time hours — either part-time or casually — increases after age 20, again because the
expectation is that women will start families and take the larger share of care for children as well as
other domestic duties.

The related Federal Ministry, Human Resource and Administration Departments of private
and public sector organizations, Human Resource Management concerns of national,
multinational and international organizations and interrelated Trade Unions have a
responsibility to do more to defend the rights of young people in the workforce, as the
the exploitation of young workers undermines the wages and conditions of all workers and
ultimately will lead to their greater exploitation. While Unions need to adhere in principle and
practice to begin educating young workers about their rights in the workplace, media need to
further, perk up policies and programs that innocent young internees and workers’ must not
remain unpaid or underpaid.

To cut the long story short it is moral, logical and justifiable to advocate the conversion of all
totally unpaid internships into suitably paid ones as it is only with the involvement of mind,
body and soul and not the mere formality of marking attendance and copy-pasting data and text
that internships can bring morale-boosting change in the lives of talented interns of today
transforming into value-adding professionals of tomorrow reflective of a harmonious blend of
mutual sharing, caring, and rewards both for the enlightening youth and the prospective
employer towards a better and brighter company, home, community and society and the
valued customers or clients for whom all the business and professional acumen is all about.

What remains of paramount significance for guiding and helping our minor and trivial or so
very insignificant and inconsequential job-seekers from exploitation to enlightenment is the
the inspiring and instrumental role of the concerned university management, more
especially, focally and centrally, of the illustrious, caring and altruistic faculty, teachers
and counselors, who spot, identify, harness, nurture, groom and blossom with selfless

devotion and exemplary commitment to the corporate and social leaders of tomorrow with
grace, dignity, and honor for the institution, the students and interns, their families, their
society, their fellow beings and their community all towards a better and brighter
Pakistan.