Research Studies Confirm Internships Lead To Higher Rates of Job Offers

By Tamara Estrella

Tamara Estrella

Tamara Estrella

Chief Strategy Officer

Internship experiences are vital for students seeking full-time employment. Several studies have indicated that students graduating with internship experiences are more likely to get hired in full-time jobs than those without internships.

In fact, students with internships are 60% more likely to land a job right after college, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). In the NACE’s 2009 Experiential Education Survey, employers reported that 36% of their college hires came from their own internship programs. IBM hires 2,000 interns annually and converts more than half of them to full-time hires.

A major predictor of the initial career outcome for a student is the total number of internship experiences (s)he has. Additionally, internships contribute to the other major predictor of initial career outcome: grade point average (GPA). Internships help students develop crucial skills that can improve course performance, such as better time management, communication skills, self-discipline, increased initiative and overall self-concept. Furthermore, assessments of student resumes by recruiters have repeatedly shown that internship experiences rate higher than resumes with no such experiences.

A study conducted by Stephen Knouse, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Department of Management, demonstrated that internships are associated with better college performance and improved opportunities for landing a job upon graduation. For the study, graduates completed a survey at the time of their graduation, and were followed up with six months later. The survey asked students if they had a job at the time of graduation, if they had internship experiences, and if they had used their university’s placement center.

The results indicated that interns and non-interns started college with the same potential (similar ACT scores), but interns had accumulated a significantly higher GPA than non-interns. Most students who had had internships found jobs by graduation time, unlike their counterparts who had not completed any internships. Several other studies show further evidence of this. Students who had chosen to complete internships were offered jobs more quickly than those who had not opted for internships.

Interestingly, another benefit of internships is that even if interns are not immediately hired upon graduation, companies tend to keep them in the hiring pool longer than applicants without internships. Interns also command higher salaries and experience higher job satisfaction in their subsequent jobs.