Why should we pay our creative interns?

November 22, 2017

By Georgina Guthrie

There’s just too much noise. We’re drowning in clickbait headlines and dead hashtags. Gutsy ideas have had the life sucked out of them because The Board are scared, so nothing too strange please and thank you.

Picture this.

You’re scrolling through your twitter feed, whizzing past food pics, 10 Ways to Boost Your ROI, Which Disney Princess Are You Really?, and so on. You’re blank-eyed and bored. You want to comment on something, to add your own opinion, but there’s nothing worth commenting on. Nothing.

Then suddenly, amid all the white noise, you see something glitter. A little sparkle that makes you feel all tingly. You reach your hands out to feel its warming glow. Is this the real deal? You stop what you’re doing. You read. Time passes and you didn’t even notice. You feel something in your chest. No, not heartburn. Emotion. 

This is what creativity does.

Creativity isn't led by algorithms and data and The Board. Creativity knows better. It doesn’t care about getting a promotion or impressing the boss. The irony is that creativity is usually what wins in the end. It is the most-shared article, the latest craze, the Cannes Lion-winning idea. 

Creativity shines through the crap and makes you feel excited, scared, or a little hot under the collar. Creativity is precious. It’s hard to find and impossible to force, which is why it’s so highly prized.

So why the hell are creatives so badly paid?!

This isn’t a passive-aggressive dig at my employers, who do pay me (thanks guys!), but an angry finger-point at those publishers/studios who think it’s absolutely fine to not pay their freelancers and interns.

You pay someone to check your car. You tip the waiter. You pay the Uber driver. So why don’t you pay the struggling creative who’s just served their soul up on a plate?

Here’s a message I received just last week upon mentioning the 'p' word:

Hi Georgina, 

I look forward to receiving this. Unfortunately we don't pay writers to contribute to our blog - however, we give you guys a platform to share your work with our audience as well as send you to review new openings/menus when the opportunity arises! 

Is this okay with you? 

All the best

The thing is, creative jobs are popular. When they're good, they're the best – which is why they're also the most competitive. 

Getting a tiptop portfolio is the best way to secure yourself a gig that actually pays. But often, that means working for free – and unfortunately, publishers are only too happy to exploit this.

With a surplus of creatives working for free, paying jobs thin out and freelancers start undercutting each other. It's a race to the bottom. Meanwhile, high-earning websites and publishers brush a few token crumbs off the table for the few remaining creatives to fight over. 

I don't think it's fair. Mike, our ECD doesn’t think it’s fair. In fact, the whole of Proctors doesn't think it's fair. So if you're a young creative looking to make your way in the world, then get in touch.

We know it's hard being a creative. Which is why we now pay our interns. We want your ideas. In return, we'll give you references, biscuits, and most importantly, money.

If you believe you have what it takes to deliver the world-class service our clients demand of us, please send your CV and brief covering note to recruitment@proctors.co.uk, with your name and position you are applying for in the subject line.