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  • Retention Rates for Former Interns/Co-ops Decreasing

    July 19, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Internships
    An intern meets with his manager.

    TAGS: internships, trends and predictions, surveys, experiential education, spotlight, co_ops, retention

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    The retention rates of hires who have internship and co-op experience have been gradually decreasing in recent years, according to results of NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey.

    In the years immediately following the recession, this “retaining” effect was relatively modest at both the one-year and five-year benchmarks. Since 2009, the average one- and five-year retention rates for all three groups—new hires who were converted interns/co-ops from within an organization (internal), new hires who gained internship/co-op experience with another employer (external), or new hires who had no such experience at all—have been gradually decreasing, albeit with some up and down movement. (See Figure 1.)

    Interestingly, these percentages all generally move in tandem with each other, which indicates that it is more so employers’ hiring practices, not necessarily market forces, that are bolstering this “retaining” effect.

    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. The 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey report is available to participants through MyNACE. An executive summary of the 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey is available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: Retention rates for FT, entry-level hires, by internship/co-op experience: 2009-17

    Year One-Year Retention Rate Five-Year Retention Rate
    Internal External None Internal External None
    2009 96.8% 88.8% 86.8% 80.5% 66.8% 65.6%
    2010 85.9% 85.0% 80.8% 63.5% 63.8% 57.2%
    2011 75.8% 69.6% 60.7% 55.1% 49.2% 44.0%
    2012 75.7% 75.1% 66.5% 62.4% 56.3% 48.1%
    2013 88.5% 86.4% 79.6% 72.9% 66.3% 66.4%
    2014 68.8% 65.2% 52.0% 50.2% 44.7% 37.2%
    2015 58.6% 53.8% 39.0% 50.1% 37.1% 28.6%
    2016 71.8% 59.9% 60.1% 50.7% 41.2% 48.4%
    2017 65.5% 52.0% 46.2% 51.8% 38.8% 35.8%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: One-year retention rate for FT, entry-level hires, by internship/co-op experience: 2014-17

    Year Internal Intern Internal Co-op External Intern External Co-op None
    2014 75.8% 55.7% 75.5% 48.9% 52.0%
    2015 63.8% 49.9% 59.4% 45.3% 39.0%
    2016 78.5% 58.6% 64.6% 52.3% 60.1%
    2017 70.7% 57.4% 57.3% 45.1% 46.2%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 3: Five-year retention rate for FT, entry-level hires, by internship/co-op experience: 2014-17

    Year Internal Intern Internal Co-op External Intern External Co-op None
    2014 55.6% 41.9% 50.8% 35.7% 37.2%
    2015 53.0% 45.6% 42.2% 29.2% 28.6%
    2016 54.9% 44.2% 46.3% 33.8% 48.4%
    2017 54.3% 48.0% 41.1% 35.8% 35.8%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers