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Working for commission

November 30, 2017 by Storm Crow

Working for commission

Some organisations seem to think working for commission will be attractive to students with little or no employment experience. However, unless you’re an absolute sales whiz, the question of whether you should embark on a journey during your degree that a) provides a lot of stress b) offers an inconsistent income, and c) lacks job security – is a pretty simple one with a simple answer – we’d recommend against it.

The challenge

For those who are unsure of what commission work really entails, it’s a challenging aspect of finance, marketing, sales and communication industries. It requires a lot of motivation, self-discipline, confidence and strong communication skills.

Instead of being paid an hourly rate or weekly salary for your efforts, you’re paid a percentage of the sales you make – meaning your payslip could vary continuously.

It can be unsustainable

It’s a known fact that the beginning can be brutal and sales can be very slow. This is a situation that can become stressful – not only for a student who has not been trained but also for professionals.

It’s been estimated that 80% of people don’t make a successful career out of this line of work, and really struggle to support themselves financially. This is a really difficult situation to be in whilst completing your studies, trying to manage expenses and enjoy life.

Consider your lifestyle and financial situation – is this the most strategic move for you?

So, know your rights

Student life, as you know, is stressful enough with juggling university assessments, extracurricular activities or even personal commitments. We encourage you to know your rights when it comes to being offered positions that require you to work for commission – especially when they are posted as internships or work experience on job boards.

We’d also like to mention that Curtin’s online job board for students UniHub does not allow organisations to advertise roles awarding commission to students, and makes a point of ensuring that all students’ rights are protected. Through UniHub, employers can advertise roles for:

  • Extracurricular work experience, which is not required as part of a study unit but in-line with a student’s degree; allowing students to work with an organisation for a maximum of 112 hours.
  • Unpaid internships, which could also be used towards a unit from the student’s study plan that requires completion of X amount of hours of supervised work.
  • Volunteer work, must be aligned with a not-for-profit organisation and cover students under their insurance policy.
  • Paid work, must be in-line with Fair Work regulations and pay students at award rates.

If you’d like to discuss your future career path or would like to speak to someone about internships, work experience, or volunteer work, head over to Careers, Employment & Leadership. You can also attend the Graduate Gateway series next week. Attend the whole series or pick and choose the workshops that suit you.

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