The difficult job market has clearly played a role in new college grads having little luck with employment. In a survey, about 70% communicated that they wish they had done more (e.g., internships, cooperative learning, job shadowing, networking, etc) to prepare themselves for the workforce.
As recruiting is starting to rise gradually across companies, HR has tapped into internship programs as a powerful resource for finding new talent.
Experts agree that the feeling is mutual for colleges, who are trying to seek out more of these opportunities, which can help more college grads better prepare for their careers before they get their degrees.
“They [colleges] are focused mostly on getting employers onto campus and providing students with basic interviewing skills,” says Adecco Senior Vice President for Talent Management Kathy Kane, who oversaw the survey.
“It’s essentially a matchmaking service. I would rather see a more in-depth partnership between colleges and employers. And for HR leaders, forging tighter bonds with colleges may also help ease their concerns about managing wayward Gen Yers.”
Read the Human Resource Executive article
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Employers are putting pressure on their internship programs to support their operations this year. From the National Association of Colleges and Employers, businesses are expecting to increase internship hiring by at least 7%.
However, while the demand for interns is rapidly rising, the competitive wages they can offer interns is getting lower. The average hourly rate, right now is $16.68 per hour, which has greatly dropped since last year. Instead, companies are opting to pay interns with perks like free lunches, travel stipends, and school credit.
Considering your own internship program, do you know if you meet the federal criteria?
HR, and especially small business owners, should keep in mind that the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division has rules to prevent you from taking advantage of unpaid interns, when you can’t afford to hire new full-time employees.
- The internship should model training that would be given in an educational environment
- The internship experience is designed for the benefit of the intern, not the company
- The intern does not displace regular workers, but works under supervision
- It is communicated clearly in advance if/when the intern will not receive wages
Read the Wall Street Journal article
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Over the past 4 or 5 years, employers have focused more on their intern pool for filling entry-level positions in the organization. In a national 2011 study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), nearly 40% of this year’s entry-level jobs will be filled by former interns.
For example, at the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 45% of the 4,600 college students that were hired in 2010 for full-time positions were former interns.
In doing internal research, their company discovered that former interns performed better than non-interns, and they see this as an important recruiting strategy for the next few years. In their pursuit of hiring interns, they began revamping their efforts to find and recruit students as early as their freshman year of college.
“Companies are essentially trying to take graduates out of the job market before there’s competition for them,” said Edwin Koc, research director for NACE.
More than 266 employers participated in the study, showing a marked interest in hiring fresh grads who already have hands-on experience and familiarity with their companies.
Read the Wall Street Journal article
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