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Posted May 27, 2019 by

Paid vs unpaid internships are key to landing a well-paying job upon graduation

One of the most basic factors separating students who find it relatively easy to find a well-paying job upon graduation from those who end up unemployed or underemployed is whether the students had internships or not and whether those internships were paid or unpaid.

According to results of the Class of 2019 Student Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job—53.2 percent—received at least one job offer. Within this group, 57.5 percent of students who had an internship and 43.7 percent of graduating seniors who did not have an internship received a job offer.”

In addition, the students who completed at least one internship prior to graduation were significantly more likely to receive multiple job offers for positions upon graduation. For those who completed at least one internship, the average student received 1.17 job offers. Those without an internship received 16 percent fewer job offers: an average of only 0.98 per student.

Another key factor was whether the internship was paid or unpaid. Many legal experts believe that unpaid internships are illegal unless the employer is a governmental or non-profit entity. But just because something may be illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Just think about the last time you drove a car. Almost everyone breaks at least one law every time they drive, whether that’s failing to come to a complete stop at a controlled intersection or driving even one mile per hour over the speed limit.

The impact of internship pay status was evident as well as 66.4 percent of According to NACE, 66.4 percent of class of 2019 graduates who had a paid internship received a job offer. On the other hand, just 43.7 percent of unpaid interns were offered a job. In other words, if you only graduate with an unpaid internship and your friend graduates with a similar but paid internship, she is 34 percent more likely to receive at least one job offer upon graduation. Ouch.

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Posted in Advice for Candidates, Career Advice, Economic Indicators, Getting Experience, Internships, Job Search, Salaries and Compensation | Tagged Tagged , , , , , ,