Muffin Break’s general manager has issued an apology after attracting a huge backlash for claiming millennials are not prepared to work for free to advance their careers.
In a recent interview with news.com.au Natalie Brennan said there has been a decline in the number of young people asking for work experience or unpaid work.
“You don’t see it anymore. Before that [10 years ago] people would be knocking on your door all the time, you couldn’t keep up with how many people wanted to be working,” she said.
Brennan said she would "run programs" due to the number of people seeking unpaid work.
“In essence they’re working for free, but I can tell you every single person who has knocked on my door for an internship or work experience has ended up with a job. Every single person, because they back themselves."
She added that young candidates today think “they’re better than the job” and later went on to blame social media.
“I think everybody thinks social media is going to get them ahead somewhere. There’s definitely that inflated view of their self-importance because they have X amount of Instagram followers or this many likes. That’s dangerous,” she said.
Brennan said it seemed like young staff wanted to be applauded for doing their jobs.
“I’m generalising here, but it definitely feels like this generation of 20-somethings has to be rewarded even if it’s the most mundane, boring thing, they want to be rewarded for doing their job constantly.”
Brennan’s remarks were met with a fierce backlash online over the weekend, with many unimpressed with her characterisation of the younger workforce.
Politicians weighed in.
As did the unions.
And so, on Monday, Brennan – who has worked at Muffin Break’s parent compant Foodco for almost 18 years – issued an apology.
“The recent article does not reflect my values or those of Foodco. Every day for the last 25 years I’ve worked with young people who are motivated, passionate and hard-working. This is as true today as it was when I started my career," she said.
“I don’t expect anyone to work unpaid and Foodco Group policy is, and has always been, that all employees including interns, employed either directly or through our brands are paid according to relevant awards.
“The unpaid work I referred to was supervised programs run through schools, TAFEs or universities, which provide valuable gained experience to people before they enter the workforce full-time. I want to apologise for any misunderstanding or upset caused by my comments.”
Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.
Contact Richard James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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