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  • Intern Offer, Acceptance Rates Indicate Robust Market

    June 14, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Internships
    A college student accepts an internship.

    TAGS: internships, trends and predictions, surveys, experiential education, offer rate, spotlight, co_ops, acceptance rate

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    The key metrics for measuring success in converting interns into full-time, entry-level hires resemble levels seen at the peak of the pre-recession market, indicating a more robust college hiring market, according to results of NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey.

    These metrics—higher offer rates and lower acceptance rates—can mean greater challenges ahead for employers in converting interns into full-time hires.

    In 2017, the offer rate was 67.1 percent and the acceptance rate was 76.4 percent. In addition, while conversion rates have trended up and down in the post-recession years, they have, for the most part, remained higher than they were in the pre-recession years; in 2017, the conversion rate was 51.3 percent. (See Figure 1.)

    For co-ops, after offer rates fell and acceptance rates rose in the years immediately following the recession, these two metrics—given the limited number of respondents in this survey to questions related to co-ops—have trended somewhat erratically in more recent years. In 2017, the offer rate was 49.1 percent, the acceptance rate was 83.5 percent, and the conversion rate was 41 percent.

    It is important to note that, because conversion rates are very much dependent on the number of eligible interns/co-ops, higher conversion rates for (relatively) smaller cohorts of interns/co-ops can be misinterpreted as intimating greater conversion success. As such, the trend for conversion rates for interns and co-ops must always be considered in concert with their respective trend for hiring projections.

    Case in point, from 2013 to 2016, the upward swing for the intern conversion rate correlated with a downturn for intern hiring projections, which suggests that greater conversion “success” was more attributable to employers having hosted smaller cohorts of interns in recent years rather than to their actual ability to convert interns. In 2017, the first year in which employers reported a positive intern hiring projection since 2013, the intern conversion rate took a dip.

    NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey was conducted from November 21, 2016, to February 17, 2017, from NACE employer members; there were 276 respondents, representing 26.4 percent of all eligible respondents. NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey report will be available later in June.

    Figure 1: Intern and co-op conversion: 2004-17

    Year Interns Co-ops
    Offer Rate Acceptance Rate Conversion Rate Offer Rate Acceptance Rate Conversion Rate
    2017 67.1% 76.4% 51.3% 49.1% 83.5% 41.0%
    2016 72.7% 85.2% 61.9% 36.5% 72.2% 26.4%
    2015 58.9% 87.8% 51.7% 50.4% 75.0% 37.8%
    2014 64.8% 79.0% 51.2% 56.8% 82.2% 46.7%
    2013 56.5% 85.6% 48.4% 48.8% 75.5% 36.9%
    2012 61.2% 86.5% 58.6% 38.8% 89.8% 35.9%
    2011 66.7% 86.5% 57.7% 63.2% 87.8% 55.5%
    2010 63.3% 83.9% 53.3% 65.7% 92.0% 60.4%
    2009 67.7% 83.6% 56.6% 71.0% 78.5% 55.7%
    2008 69.6% 72.5% 50.5% 73.3% 80.7% 59.2%
    2007 64.9% 72.9% 47.3% 74.9% 74.9% 52.4%
    2006 72.6% 73.0% 53.0% 74.2% 86.3% 60.4%
    2005 52.3% 68.1% 35.6% 48.0% 52.8% 30.1%
    2004 57.6% 77.6% 44.7% 60.2% 82.4% 49.6%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers.
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