New Federal Guidelines Governing Unpaid Internships Are Unrealistic
LOS ANGELES–(Business Wire)–
A new national survey of more than 300 college and university career center
professionals sponsored by Internships.com reveals that students with internship
experience have a significant competitive advantage in their quest for
employment after graduation. The survey also documents improving internship
opportunities for college students. Concurrently, the new survey data suggest a
mixed response to the recently updated Federal guidelines for unpaid internships
announced by the Department of Labor (DOL) earlier this year.
Virtually all the survey respondents – 98 percent – agree/strongly agree that
“employers favor students who have had an internship experience” over their
peers who have not had an internship while in college.
Fully two-thirds (66 percent) of the campus career center professionals who
participated in the May 2010 survey report that internship postings at their
college or university increased this past year (2009-10). Seven of the nine
internship categories tracked by the survey – overall internships, summer and
academic year, unpaid, and postings by small and mid-size firms and by alumni -
all showed gains this past academic year. In contrast, more campuses reported
declining numbers of paid internships than reported increases.
Overall, career center professionals report that internship opportunities are
improving: almost half (49 percent) of the survey participants agree that
internship opportunities this past academic year (2009-10) were “better” or
“much better” than last year (2008-09).
“The survey data are clear: students must include internships as part of their
college experience,” says Robin D. Richards, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of
Internships.com, the firm that developed the national survey. “Employers prefer
to hire students who have worked as interns. And the rising number of internship
opportunities reflects the fact that employers recognize the value that interns
bring to their organizations.” Additionally, says Richards, “students should be
conscious of the opportunities for rich internship experiences at small and
Career center professionals view key components of the new Federal guidelines
governing unpaid internships as unrealistic. A critical issue is the Federal
mandate that employers not benefit from the work of interns. More than
two-fifths (44 percent) of the survey respondents deem the mandate that “the
employer derives no immediate advantage from the activities of interns” as
unrealistic, compared to just 9 percent who assess it as realistic. Also viewed
as unrealistic is the Federal requirement that unpaid internships comply with
all six criteria in the new DOL guidelines.
Although the Federal mandates were announced in April, one-third (32 percent) of
the career center professionals who participated in the survey report that the
media coverage of the new guidelines has already had an impact on employers who
post internship opportunities at their campuses.
“The survey data reveal that the new Federal guidelines, while well-intentioned,
are also unrealistic,” says Richards. “Interns who do well always benefit the
organizations that sponsor them.”
ABOUT THE SURVEY OF CAREER CENTER PROFESSIONALS
The Internships.com survey of career center professionals was conducted in May
2010. The 305 survey respondents who completed the online questionnaire
represent 283 public, private, and for-profit two- and four-year colleges across
the United States. Fully three-fourths (74 percent) of the respondents report
that they are the director, associate director, or assistant director for career
center services at their institution; more than two-thirds of the survey
participants (69 percent) indicate that they are the individual who has primary
responsibility for internship programs at their college or university. The
executive summary is available on the web: internships.com/spring2010survey.
Follow Internships.com at Twitter.com/Internships and Facebook.com/internships
for tips on finding internships, hot internship listings, and internship advice.
Internships.com serves as the leading nexus between internships and students,
higher education and employers. At Internships.com we develop world-class tools
and services to enable every student, employer and educator to better understand
and optimize the work opportunities of the future.
Internships.com is based in Los Angeles, California. More information is
available at Internships.com.
Morgan/Dorado for Internships.com
Josh Morgan, 916-941-0901
Copyright Business Wire 2010