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  • Intern Status: Job-Search Timing, Pay Expectations Differ

    September 23, 2019 | By NACE Staff

    Internships
    A college student searches for a job.

    TAGS: internships, compensation, salaries, trends and predictions, student attitudes, surveys, spotlight, students

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    Paid interns from the Class of 2019 began looking for full-time jobs an average of seven months prior to graduation, while unpaid and never interns began looking for their jobs slightly less than five months before graduating, according to results of NACE’s 2019 Student Survey.

    In addition, 81.7 percent of paid interns had started looking for a job and 75 percent of paid interns had applied for a full-time job by the time the survey was conducted. By comparison, 69.0 percent of unpaid interns and 62.9 percent of never interns had started looking for a job, and 51 percent of unpaid interns and 45.5 percent of never interns had applied for a full-time job by then. (See figures 1 and 2.)

    As expected, paid interns had higher salary expectations than unpaid and never interns. NACE asked them about their salary expectation by ranges, so the mean is not appropriate to use here. According to their median responses, paid interns expect to make between $50,000 and $55,000, or $10,000 more than both unpaid and never interns. (See Figure 3.)

    Data from the 2019 Student Survey were collected from February 13, 2019, through May 1, 2019. A total of 22,371 students responded from 472 NACE-member colleges and universities. The focus of the survey report, however, is on the experiences of the 3,952 graduating seniors who participated. In addition, this report includes in-depth analysis of the impact of students’ internships on aspects of their transition from college to work. The 2019 Student Survey will be available later this fall.

    Figure 1: Started the job search

    Internship Status Number of Months Started Job Search
    Number of Respondents Mean Number of Respondents Percent
    Never intern 752 4.9 623 62.9%
    Unpaid intern 821 4.8 686 69.0%
    Paid intern 977 7.0 908 81.7%
    All graduating seniors 2,694 5.6 3,289 71.2%
    Source: 2019 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Applied for a full-time job

    Internship Status Number of Respondents Percent
    Never intern 990 45.5%
    Unpaid intern 996 51.1%
    Paid intern 1,112 75.4%
    All graduating seniors 3,292 57.7%
    Source: 2019 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 3: Starting salary expectations

    Internship Status Number of Respondents Median Salary Expectation
    Never intern 908 $40,000 to $45,000
    Unpaid intern 957 $40,000 to $45,000
    Paid intern 1,078 $50,000 to $55,000
    All graduating seniors 2,980 $40,000 to $45,000
    Source: 2019 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers