I just saw someone list a position for an intern, wanting to pay them 10$ to 12$ an hour. In the states, this is roughly what someone makes at target, walmart, or burger king (actually less in a lot of cases). Does this fall in line with your experience?
One of the problems is when people/artists take this work for that amount of pay. Yes, they are offering much less than they should, most likely, they may not be aware of normal rates. If nobody takes the offer, they may get the idea its too low, or if someone contacts them for the position, they need to be up front about a livable wage, EVEN for an intern position, people deserve to get paid a livable rate. Point being, nobody is making anyone apply for these rates, the problem persists when people take these underpaid gigs.
A Junior’s starting hourly ought to be about double that amount. AFAIK I don’t know anyone that started as an intern but I agree with ambassador that everyone at least deserves a living wage.
I was an intern for the last 3 months of my university course and the pay was $0 (In fact based on how much I spent on my university that 3 month module probably cost me $3700). All of the students at my university who were accepted for internship at different studios were not paid either. I did not have a problem with this as the exposure to the industry was a huge step forward for me and I learned many useful techniques which gave me a foot into the industry which started my journey. They also hired me as a junior after the 3 month internship and gave me a full time job for the next 2 years (which I left for a different studio after that).
I agree that a junior should have a livable wage - however I would not confuse this with an internship. I would clarify a couple of things here, as an intern you have absolutely no experience in the industry, you probably have no idea of how professionals use the tools you have learned recently or any basic structure to your workflow or pipeline, if you do, then you probably dont even need an internship and should already be working in the industry. You are not there 5 days per week, sometimes 2-3 days if you are lucky, you also have to remember it takes time out of the schedules of the professionals in that office to train you to work on the tools and their pipeline when possibly you may not even end up being hired out of the 5 interns that come into their office for that 3 month period.
I would also clarify that I for one would never advise someone to do work for free, for any other reason than if it is something they are passionate about volunteering their time for (like saving the whales if that’s your thing) or if it can help someone you care about (your sisters wedding photography or something). To me the way I remember my internship was like spending 2-3 days out of my university course in an actual studio, working in the industry doing what I studied so hard for and was graded based on my performance there and I got a job out of the experience the moment I finished my course.