Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

School of Technology

Grinstead Building, Room 009
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4436
Fax: 660-543-4578
Email: Dr. Ronnie Rollins


Effectiveness of internships as an employee recruitment tool

Source: The quarterly newsletter of the Midwest Association of Colleges & Employers...   Experiential Education 2006: NACE Benchmarks & Trends; by Sharon Jennings, Career Development Coordinator, Office of Career Services, University of Central Missouri

During the August 2006 Midwest ACE annual conference, NACE's executive director Marilyn Mackes reviewed the latest benchmarks and trends in experiential education resulting from their annual survey (dated May 2006). Extracted from the report are the following highlights and trends from their pool of responding employers:

83.8 % of employers reported having internship programs available for students; 41.9% have co-op programs.

75.9 % of employers with internship programs report that the focus of their internship program is to feed their college recruiting program (lesser focus primarily by government/nonprofit employers).

73.4 % of the co-op program focus is to feed college recruiting.

Employers with internships and co-ops measure the success of the efforts based on conversion rates, management satisfaction, student satisfaction and retention rates.

Only 17.8 % of respondents offer internships in other countries with manufacturers most likely to do so. Only 15.5% of employers target international students studying in the U.S. to take part in their internship programs.

Respondents cited attending career fairs and building relationships with faculty contacts as the most effective methods used for recruiting interns and co-ops.

Employers report an average of 20.8 days elapse between the interview and when offers/declines are made to candidates although responses ranged from 1 day to 120 days.

Employers provide candidates an average of 13.8 days to accept or decline offers although responses ranged from 1 day to 90 days.

Employers extended offers to 72.6 % of their interns this year (only 52.3% the previous year); the increase is linked to increased hiring needs.

Internship and co-ops provided 30% of the new college hires (25% is considered an effective recruiting tool).

Employers report that 84.4% of the college hires from the internship/co-op programs are retained - much higher than other new college hires. In addition, 82.9% of their new college hires that did an internship/co-op with another organization are retained at a higher rate than those that lack that experience.

Employers report 80% of student interns were paid but did not receive academic credit for their experience while 86% of co-op students get paid as well as receive academic credit.

Overall, salaries to interns and co-op students were up, taking advantage of the good job market. Salaries are determined in part by the student's year of study and whether or not the student is a "returning" student.

Employers (32.8% of them) reported that higher salaries are offered to interns and co-ops they convert from their programs than they offer to other new college hires. Overall, 46.2% offer higher salaries to incoming college hires with internship/co-op experience gained anywhere than they offer to new college hires who lack such experience.•

Regarding benefits, 77.9% of intern students and 82.8% of co-op students have some sort of benefits provided by the employer. The manufacturing industry was most likely to provide such benefits. The most common benefits included planned activities, paid holidays, and relocation assistance.

In Summary: Employers are identifying the appropriate candidates for internships and co-ops and are able to convert and retain those candidates.• Employers have responded to the competitive job market by offering higher salaries and more benefits to internship and co-op candidates.• The "high touch" method of recruiting is the best method for effectively recruiting interns and co-op students. The top three methods for recruiting these candidates are career fairs, faculty contacts, and offering information sessions.

Posted: 1/3/2007 Author: Sharon Jennings, Career Development Coordinator, Office of Career Services, University of Central Missouri.