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IT students facing summer job pitfalls with early postings – Unions warn of legal consequences

NRK has previously written about technology students who receive job offers before they have finished their education.

Several of them sign contracts while they are still studying, but trade unions warn against pitfalls.

24-year-old Victoria Langøe from Sandnessjøen in Nordland has fallen into such a pitfall.

She is currently studying a master’s in computer science at the University of Oslo, and in the autumn of 2023 was offered a summer job in an IT consultancy company.

Since it was a company she really wanted to work for, she accepted.

But in mid-January, she was called by the company.

Then she was told that, due to a lack of new assignments, there were not enough funds to have summer temporary workers anyway.

– It was very awkward. I felt I was standing on bare ground without a summer job. As a master’s student, it is very stupid because it is important experience to take with you when applying for a full-time job later.

She also has several friends at university who have experienced the same thing.

– It is not justifiable that they see people a year in advance without knowing that they have the funds to do so.

Job paths will be posted early

Summer jobs are posted earlier and earlier.

What used to be January and February has now become November and December for many, says daily manager of the recruitment agency Heia Nord-Noreg, Gard Michalsen.

But in the IT industry, summer jobs are posted even earlier.

– The way it works for Norwegian IT students, you start applying from the beginning of September. Then post all the positions, says Langøe.

CEO of IKT-Noreg, Øyvind Husby, says it is due to great competition.

– There is a big fight for the students. Many want to secure students as early as possible because in the past it has been difficult to get hold of enough.

But that seems to be changing in the IT consulting industry.

– Having problems with assignments

– We have received a signal that times are tough now, says Husby.

He says there are several reasons for this.

One of them is that an employer’s tax has been introduced on high salaries, which has meant that profitability in the consultancy has become worse. He says there have also been new rules on letting on projects.

– This has led to uncertainty surrounding the project, he says.

Managing director of IKT-Noreg, Øyvind Husby, says they have received a signal that there are tough times in the IT consulting industry.

Photo: IKT-Norge

Furthermore, the director says that some public enterprises require employees with several years’ experience on projects they have ordered from consulting companies.

– It is a great pity. Then young people are seen on the bench because the public does not want to take in young people on projects. Everyone must take responsibility for getting young people into work.

According to Langøe, it is well known among students that things are going badly with the IT consulting market.

– The company has a problem with assignments, says the student.

This is problematic because IT students often start their careers in this industry, according to Husby and Langøe.

– Most IT students go into the consulting industry first. They gobble them up, she says.

Want a change

According to Langøe, it’s not just summer jobs the IT company she first got a job with had to cut. Even the full-time positions, which were also advertised a year in advance, had to be cut.

NRK has been in contact with the IT company that withdrew the summer substitute, but they will not comment on the matter.

Langøe is now calling for a change.

She wants the jobs not to be advertised so far in advance without the companies knowing that they have money to hire.

The Electrical and IT Association is aware of the issue of students being able to withdraw their summer temporary jobs.

Photo: Beate Oma Dahle / NTB

– People are walking around worried that their jobs will be cut.

She herself had no plan B, but says she was lucky to get the message in January and not later in the spring.

– I have time to find a new job. So I’ve talked to people and got tips, and have now been contacted by a professor I’ve had, and he’s open to giving me a summer job.

– Is problematic

The Electrical and IT Association is aware of the issue of students being able to withdraw their summer temporary jobs.

– It is important that working life meets young people in a good and serious way, and the practice described here is problematic in several ways, says union secretary Geir Aasen.

According to him, these legal provisions on employment can fall under the Contracts Act.

– Termination or termination before joining can in certain cases trigger liability for damages, says Aasen.

In addition to the legal aspects, this practice will also affect the reputation of the companies.

– Working life is becoming digitized and many industries and companies will ask for young people with an IT education. In this competition, it is companies that treat people in a proper way that will be attractive, says Aasen and adds:

– It would be best for the reputation of the companies both among the students and in working life in general if they made written agreements that oblige both parties in a better way.

2024-03-07 22:05:15

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