• Just 38 Percent of Unpaid Internships Were Subject to FLSA Guidelines

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    June 26, 2013

    Although there has been much recent news about unpaid internships, results of NACE’s Class of 2013 Student Survey show that only 38.1 percent of unpaid internships taken by Class of 2013 graduating seniors were conducted in the for-profit, private sector.

    These internships, and the organizations that offer them, are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A recent court ruling on unpaid internships at Fox Searchlight held that the organization had violated the FLSA and should have paid its interns.

    The remaining unpaid internships were conducted in organizations exempted from FLSA regulations: nonprofit organizations (40.7 percent) and government agencies (21.2 percent).

    Overall, among the internships taken by Class of 2013 graduating seniors, 52.2 percent were paid and 47.8 percent were unpaid. More than half of these internships were performed at for-profit, private-sector organizations (56.3 percent). The remaining internships were undertaken at nonprofits (28.1 percent) and state, local, or federal government agencies (15.7 percent).

    Among Class of 2013 graduating seniors who took paid internships, an overwhelming percentage—72.9 percent—worked in the for-profit, private sector, while 16.4 percent worked for nonprofits and 10.6 percent worked for state, local, or federal government agencies.

    NACE’s Class of 2013 Student Survey was conducted from February 15, 2013, to April 30, 2013. The survey yielded more than 38,000 responses from college students, including 9,215 from seniors earning bachelor’s degrees. Data reported here reflect responses from these seniors. The data on internship/co-op participation do not include graduating seniors who undertook student-teaching assignments. The full survey report will be released in the fall of 2013.


Just 38 Percent of Unpaid Internships Were Subject to FLSA Guidelines