The intern: not a role to joke about

By Jack Reed

Over half of internships result in job offers, according to a recent report by graduate job board Milkround. However, nearly three of quarters of graduates, who receive a job offer after their internship, decline it.

The pressure on undergraduates to secure an internship during the summer is perhaps now greater than ever before, with many students viewing a placement as the only way to secure a job at their desired company.

The added value to internships has meant there is an increased necessity to complete one.

Judging by Milkround’s Research, which involved speaking to 5,319 university students and recent graduates, it appears internships now consist of far more than the traditional work experience tasks, like making the tea or filing documents.

While this may seem to be a reason for the increase in popularity of internships, there may be another reason, manifested in the domino effect.

Record numbers of students are both going to university and graduating with first class degrees, meaning there is increased pressure for jobs after graduating.

To bolster and perfect CVs, students are turning to internships as the solution.

It is therefore unsurprising to see that 57% of graduates have completed an internship or work experience whilst at university.

53% of these internships have resulted in job offers by the same company, yet the fact 72% of these interns decline the role is far more revealing about the attitude of graduates.

This theme of rejection is reflected in the general graduate job market, with 34% declining a job offer and 33% declining two or more.

The fact many graduates are rejecting job offers points to a crisis in confidence, with 58% not feeling confident enough in their own skills to take the job offer. 19% said they declined the offer because the role offered wasn’t right for them.

Francesca Parkinson Milkround said: “It’s well known the benefits that an internship can bring to a CV, adding depth and on-the-job experience that complements academic qualifications.

“Although the majority of those offered jobs from their internships turn them down, the fact students are thinking about their future while in academia shows a real savviness amongst today’s graduates.

“Employers who want to minimise the number of candidates reneging on offers can keep in regular contact with graduates ahead of their start date.

“They could also keep the time between the offer and the start date as short or possible, or even invite their new employee to a social event ahead of their first day.”

Photograph: David Ciani via Flickr

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