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Manchester United accused of paying ambitious graduates 'poverty wages’

Published 05/02/2016

Manchester United was recently valued at around £1.98bn, placing it among the top five most valuable football clubs in the world
Manchester United was recently valued at around £1.98bn, placing it among the top five most valuable football clubs in the world

Manchester United, one of the world’s most valuable football clubs, has been criticised and accused of “paying poverty wages” for seeking to take on top university graduates, yet paying only the minimum wage.

The team at Graduate Fog - a site dedicated to career and job-hunting advice - challenged Manchester United for placing a ‘research assistant’ job advert which says the club will pay successful candidates £6.50 an hour, despite the post appearing to display skilled work.

The advert further requests all graduate candidates be “ambitious with an excellent academic background, with a minimum of a 2:1 degree.”

Graduate Fog also labelled the vacancy as being “confused” for the way it outlines a “huge list of skills and responsibilities,” specifying how assistants will be expected to “work in an independent, resourceful and self-confident manner, and have the determination and tenacity to tackle large pieces of work,” yet calling it an “internship.”

According to Forbes, in 2015, Manchester United was valued at around £1.98bn - placing it among the top five most valuable football clubs in the world. Its brand was also named the world’s most valuable and estimated to be at around £789m by consultancy Brand Finance.

Graduate Fog’s founder and journalist, Tanya de Grunwald, referred to the club’s actions as being a prime example of an employer with deep pockets who is taking advantage of an overabundance of qualified young candidates who are desperate for experience.

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She said: “I’m getting sick and tired of seeing big employers sticking the word ‘internship’ into job descriptions as a justification for paying poverty wages to young people. Manchester United can well afford to pay their staff more than the bare minimum.”

She also added how she was disappointed to see the club apparently limiting the pool of talent to those from ‘top’ universities, and continued: “Such snobbishness is likely to exclude many ambitious and able candidates from diverse backgrounds.”

Speaking with Graduate Fog, a Manchester United spokesperson described how, despite the job’s title, the role is an entry-level intern position, adding: “Whilst the candidate would be involved in all of the duties listed, they would only touch upon them all lightly as the advert states the position is for a two-month period.

“The position is highly-supervised, working within a team, but we look for all our staff to show the capability of working independently and would expect an ambitious graduate to want to display the full range of their abilities in the hope of demonstrating their value to the business.

“Manchester United reviews its remuneration structure on an annual basis.”

Graduate Fog said it has approached the club and asked it to pay the graduates it takes on the living wage, but has yet to receive a response. The club has also yet to respond to a request for comment.

Independent

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