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Do you really like this internship offer but think it's underpaid? Don't miss out on this offer and instead try to negotiate an internship salary with our tips on how to do this internship without breaking the bank!

Internship pay: what do companies get for hiring an intern?

The benefits of companies paying an intern

The reason why companies recruit interns is of course because it is an opportunity for them. It should be kept in mind that an internship is a win-win contract for both parties and therefore companies have an interest in recruiting interns, it is not altruism. Companies have several advantages when recruiting interns:

  • A lower salary (which is called compensation by the way because you are not a real employee)
  • Exemption from social security and employer's contributions on the minimum compensation (any additional euro above 577.50€ will be taxed normally in France)
  • No additional health cover to be provided to the trainee
  • A more youthful and objective view of the business
  • Gain in pedagogical competence for the company

This is objectively what companies are comfortable with when recruiting a trainee. Of course these are just facts, but now you know what they are interested in and therefore what you can use in your negotiation!

Companies' obligations towards trainees in France and their remuneration

Now know that if we pay you half the price of transport, it's not for charity, it's actually an obligation! Trainees, in France at least, are well regulated and companies have certain obligations towards them. In France trainees have a minimum compensation of 577.50 euros, half of the transport fare reimbursed and meal tickets or access to the company canteen. If you are missing something in the list, you have the right to complain, but be aware that trainees abroad are less successful!

PS: your internship allowances are tax-free in France, unless you exceed the SMIC over 12 months, in which case you don't need advice on negotiating your internship salary...

Am I in a position to negotiate my internship salary?

Now the real question is: who are you to negotiate your internship salary?

It is quite legitimate to ask yourself whether you should not earn more. After all, you've been in higher education for 3 or 4 years, the requirements for the job are numerous and your buddy on a finance internship is doing pretty well for himself! On the other hand, many factors, fair or unfair, are supposed to explain the compensation you are offered.

The level of study factor in assessing your internship pay

Firstly, the level of education is a factor that many companies rely on, as it is one of the only ones if you have no experience yet. The level of study is often linked to the duration of the internship, which can also affect the allowance (below 2 months, the allowance is at the discretion of the company).

The experience factor in negotiating your internship salary

Your experience is the most important thing as it proves your skills and reliability. The more experience you have, the less the company will have to train you and therefore the more it will gain by hiring you! On the other hand, the win/win balance is tilted in favour of the company because the more experience you have, the less the company will have to give you. It is therefore legitimate that your allowance should increase with the number of placements you complete.

Your school projects, personal projects and sometimes your hobbies can contribute to your overall experiences or simply make you more effective at work. These elements can play a role in your recruitment and negotiation. If you were in charge of partnerships or canvassing in an association for example, this could greatly help you in a business development job!

Negotiating your internship allowance according to the size of the company

The type of company you want to join determines how much leeway you have in your negotiations. There are sectors that pay more than others, such as industry or finance, and there is the size of the company that determines its financial means and its flexibility towards employees. If it is a small company such as a start-up, it will be easier to apply but it may not have enough resources to give you a higher allowance. On the other hand, it will be more difficult to get in touch with the right person and to bend a large group that has an inflexible system despite having greater financial resources. You may be able to find information about internship salaries at the company of your choice on Glassdoor.

Finally, if the job you want is in high demand, it is unlikely that the company will agree to increase your allowance as other candidates will be willing to accept the salary offered. Conversely, the less popular the job, the more you can afford to negotiate!

In practice, how do you negotiate your trainee's allowance?

Your reasons for negotiating a pay rise

That's it, you are now facing your email or getting ready to call the person in charge to negotiate your salary. But what do you have to say? You must justify your request as precisely as possible:

  • Do you have to move to be close to your course? Mention this when advancing the cost of the move and your accommodation.
  • Is the cost of living there not in line with the allowance you are paid? Make it known so that you don't have to go into debt on placement.
  • Is the price of lunch too high? It is legitimate to ask for a little effort.
  • Do you already have a lot of experience in the field or do you exceed the expectations of the position? You may be overqualified, but you can ask to review the remuneration in the light of your profile.
  • Is the job paid less than in other companies or compared to what your friends get? The company may not be aware of this and you can warn them.

The internship remains, once again, a win/win contract that allows you to increase your skills and gain experience to be able to find a job more easily afterwards. So it's not necessarily work that will make you rich, but it will help! The bottom line of your negotiation is that doing an internship doesn't cost too much either. There is no point in negotiating unless you really like the internship and have a real reason to negotiate, otherwise you can find a new offer or, if you go abroad, an international mobility grant.

Putting your skills forward to tip the balance

If the skills required or the tasks you will have to perform are complex but the pay is not high, you can use this discrepancy to ask for a suitable salary. As with experience, the stronger the skills you have, the higher the allowance you can claim. The less you have to learn from your internship, the more legitimate it is that your allowance is higher to maintain this win/win balance.

Negotiating your salary also means making concessions

Your request has been heard and you have even received an answer! But it falls short of your expectations. This is a good step forward, but now you have to check that you haven't asked for too much, because if you don't make an effort to negotiate by insisting heavily, there is a chance that you will end up being put aside. So go back to the points above to check that your claim is rational. If it is not, you will have to make a move towards them in the negotiation. If it is, you need to bounce back to the reasons for the refusal of your application or ask for the reasons for the refusal to understand them or challenge them (nicely of course)! The aim is to find a happy medium for both parties that allows you to make a decent living.

Abroad it's another story but don't worry, we take care of it and all our internships are paid and subsidised. You can find our internship offers and information about our services through the website!

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