Archive for June 24th, 2013

June 24, 2013

Only PAID internships lead to job offers?

by Grace

Is it a myth that most college internships lead to jobs?

According to Jordan Weissmann writing in The Atlantic, it’s only the paid internships that are likely to result in jobs after graduation.  Students who worked at unpaid internships did not seem to receive any advantage in securing job offers, faring only slightly better than students with no internships at all.


Additional details:

  • Among students who found jobs, former unpaid interns were actually offered less money than those with no internship experience.
  • … unpaid interns fared roughly the same or worse on the job market compared to non-interns across a variety of fields, including business, communications, engineering, English, and political science.
  • … paid and unpaid interns had about the same distribution of GPA’s.

Here are some things to consider when looking at the correlation between unpaid internships and fewer job offers.

  • If a company is willing to pay an intern, it might follow that they consider that person a stronger candidate for a full-time job offer.
  • It’s “possible that there are inherent differences between the kinds of students who take unpaid internships and their peers”.  The person who is willing to work for free may be less likely to have the skills and qualities needed for a job offer.
  • The GPA statistics cited are too broad to draw conclusions about competency.  Grade averages are partly a function of major, with science and engineering students typically earning lower grades than those of education and language students.
  • Many of those unpaid internships could be at places that simply do not hire in significant numbers, but rely on unpaid volunteers for much of their work.  These could be non-profit entities such as charities, museums, or political organizations.

Causation not correlation
One take-away is that while internships may figure prominently in enhancing the chances of securing employment after graduation, in many cases it could be more a matter of correlation instead of causation.  Maybe it’s simply the case that the strongest job candidates are likely to get both the best internships and the best jobs.


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