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Rise of the Intern: More Opportunities, Better Chance at Top Jobs, Higher Salaries

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The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Annual Survey launched today (29 September 2016) shows that internships offer an attractive route into some of the UK’s top jobs.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of graduate employers hired interns this year, offering 9,390 internships, representing a 13% year-on-year increase in vacancies.

An average of 45% of 2015 interns went on to secure graduate jobs in the same company this year. One in ten employers convert more than 83% of their interns into graduate hires.

Internships offered by respondents are typically two to three months long and paid. Intern salaries are increasing at a faster rate than graduate salaries. This year the median intern wage was £330 a week– an increase of 4% and equivalent to £17,160 a year. Median salaries for graduate programmes among respondents have risen by 2% year-on-year to £27,500.

Banks, engineering and accountancy firms make the greatest use of interns, hiring them in the largest volumes. Banks pay the second highest salary (£21,000 pro rata) next to investment banking (£30,000). The lowest wages for interns are found in energy, water or utility companies (£16,250)1.

Internships aren’t the only viable route onto a graduate scheme. Employers are targeting students at a younger age with the number of higher apprenticeship programmes and school leaver programmes doubling in the last four years.

Many employers have made their graduate programmes more accessible by altering the minimum academic criteria they ask for. There has been an 12 percentage point rise in employers who don’t require a minimum number of UCAS points and a three percentage point rise in employers who don’t ask for 2:1 at degree level.

Also, the majority of employers (82%) do not require applicants to have studied a specific degree subject. This is 3% higher than last year and means that graduates can consider a broad range of career options.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive at the Association of Graduate Recruiters said: 

“Organisations are broadening their talent pool by making their graduate jobs more accessible, engaging students earlier and increasing the share of graduates who were previous interns.

“If you need a job, get work experience. As well as a solid introduction to working life, you will develop skills that will make you more employable. Employers value internships in particular as they get a chance to see what you bring to the organisation. Make a good impression and you’re very likely to be offered a job at the end of it.

“Many employers have recognised the benefits interns bring, so invest and place a lot of value on them. However, while the image of internships is changing, coming a long way from its tea-making roots, this isn’t representative of all businesses. Make sure you get the right opportunity for you and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it. Remember that internships are work, so you should receive at least the minimum wage.”