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  • Type of Internship Experience Affects Job Offer Rates, Salary

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Internships provide college students with valuable real-world work experience, and can lead to increased job-offer rates and higher starting salaries, according to results of a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    However, as NACE’s annual survey of college students has consistently found, job-offer rates and starting salary offers are highly dependent on whether an internship was paid or unpaid, and the sector in which a student served the internship.

    A paid internship with a company in the private sector is, by far, the most beneficial in promoting job-search success because it is the most deliberately designed and the most consistently funded for converting interns into full-time, entry-level hires.

    In the Class of 2017 Student Survey, the job-offer rate for “paid-private” students (62.2 percent) was 20.4 percent higher than for “unpaid” students and 18.9 percent higher than for students lacking experience. In addition, the median starting salary offer for “paid-private” students was 44.8 percent higher than for “unpaid” students and 27.1 percent higher than for students lacking experience.

    On the other hand, having had an unpaid position—regardless whether it is in the private, nonprofit, or public sector—gives students no immediate advantage over those students without any internship experience. In fact, Class of 2017 students whose most recent (or only) experience was unpaid had virtually the same job-offer rate as students lacking experience (41.8 percent versus 43.3 percent, respectively).

    It is important to keep in mind that, since its inception, NACE’s Student Survey has only surveyed students during the spring semester prior to graduation and, therefore, cannot show how internship/co-op experience—paid or unpaid, and in any sector—affects job-search success in the months after graduation.

    About the Class of 2017 Student Survey: NACE’s Class of 2017 Student Survey was conducted from February 15 to April 30, 2017. Nearly 22,000 students across all degree and year levels at colleges and universities nationwide took part; the focus of the report and this release are the 4,213 bachelor’s degree students who indicated that they would be graduating—or already had graduated—during the 2016-17 academic school year (July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017), and were thus members of the Class of 2017. An executive summary of the Class of 2017 Student Survey Report is available on the NACE website.  

    About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.