From education to employment

Internships increase and over half lead to top graduate job offers

New research shows how internships are essential to employment with businesses hiring more interns, increasing their salaries, investing in quality programmes and working harder to bring them back as employees.

Institute of Student Employers (ISE) Internship Report surveyed 107 employers who invested at least £13 million to recruit 7,532 paid interns this year. Internship opportunities were available in all UK regions with 52% of vacancies outside of London.

While median salaries rose by 1% to £350 per week, a quarter of employers pay at least £408 per week and 21% of employers pay their interns a salary equivalent to £21,500 (median starting salary for all UK graduates according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency).

As well as increasing the volume of internships, employers are broadening their offer. Employers have historically offered opportunities to penultimate year university students on fixed summer programmes. This year 62% did not restrict their internships to penultimate year students and 30% of employers hired first year students as interns, up from 22% in 2017.

Internships provide a viable route to a graduate job with 74% of employers making a job offer straight away after the internship has finished and one in ten offering a financial incentive.

Seventy per cent of employers said that interns out-perform graduates in some way with 35% stating that interns perform better on the job and 18% said that former interns stay longer.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the ISE said: “The market for interns is getting more competitive, so employers are investing more than ever before. The reason for this is simple: interns make better hires.Former interns are more likely to accept job offers, stay longer and often outperform their peers.

“This highlights the importance of internships to employability. Students need to be aware that competition for programmes has intensified, but there are more paid opportunities out there. There are lots of ways that students can engage with employers from social media to on campus, but they will need to be prepared for the selection process, which is thorough and can involve assessment centres, psychometric tests and video interviews.”

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