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UK – Employers hire more interns in 2018 and over half lead to top graduate offers, study finds

13 July 2018

Internships in the UK saw an increase of 6% in 2018 when compared to last year, according to a study from the Institute of Student Employers.

The Institute’s Internship Report surveyed 107 employers who invested at least £13 million to recruit 7,532 paid interns this year. Internship opportunities were available in all UK regions with 52% of vacancies outside of London.

The study showed also showed that 57% of interns were offered jobs on graduate schemes. Meanwhile, the majority, or 87%, of interns who are offered jobs accept them, and 94% of employers encourage interns to return as employees. 

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the ISE, commented, “The market for interns is getting more competitive, so employers are investing more than ever before. The reason for this is simple interns make better hires. Former interns are more likely to accept job offers, stay longer and often outperform their peers.”

While median salaries rose by 1% to £350 per week, a quarter of employers pay at least £408 per week, and 21% of employers pay their interns a salary equivalent to £21,500 (median starting salary for all UK graduates according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency).

As well as increasing the volume of internships, employers are broadening their offer. Employers have historically offered opportunities to penultimate year university students on fixed summer programmes. This year 62% did not restrict their internships to penultimate year students, and 30% of employers hired first-year students as interns, up from 22% in 2017.

“Internships provide a viable route to a graduate job with 74% of employers making a job offer straight away after the internship has finished and one in ten offering a financial incentive,” the study stated.

Most employers (70%) said that interns out-perform graduates in some way with 35% stating that interns perform better on the job and 18% said that former interns stay longer.

 “This highlights the importance of internships to employability,” Isherwood said. “There are lots of ways that students can engage with employers from social media to on campus, but they will need to be prepared for the selection process, which is thorough and can involve assessment centres, psychometric tests and video interviews.”

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