- Internships increase odds of full-time employment
- Internships increase odds of engagement at work
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Work and internship opportunities in college that allow students to apply what they learn improve the chances that college graduates will land work after college. A Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates finds 71% of the most recent graduates who strongly agreed they had these types of jobs or internship opportunities as undergrads are working full time now for an employer, compared with 56% of those who strongly disagreed.
Despite the recent drop in the national unemployment rate, the relationship between applied internships and graduate employment may cause some current college students to consider how they focus their time between now and graduation day. While the number of students taking advantage of internships has been rising across campuses, relatively few of all college graduates report participating in these internship or job opportunities.
The "employment benefit" for graduates who strongly agreed they had applied internships or jobs in college exists for all those who have earned their degrees in the past four years -- regardless of gender, race, the type of institution they graduated from or whether they are the first in their families to attend college. This reinforces that what students do while in college, and the opportunities their institutions afford them, can be more important than a number of other factors, including the type of school they attend.
These results are based on the Gallup-Purdue Index, a joint-research effort with Purdue University and Lumina Foundation to study the relationship between the college experience and college graduates' lives. The Gallup-Purdue Index is a comprehensive, nationally representative study of U.S. college graduates with Internet access, conducted Feb. 4-March 7, 2014. According to a 2013 Census Bureau report, 90% of college graduates in the U.S. have access to the Internet.
Graduates' Odds of Being Engaged at Work Higher With Internships
Recent graduates who strongly agreed they had an internship or job where they could apply what they were learning in college are not only more likely to have full-time employment, they are also more likely to be engaged at work. Fifty-six percent of employed recent graduates who took part in applied internships are engaged at work -- meaning they are involved in and enthusiastic about their work -- compared with 33% of those who did not.
This higher likelihood of engagement is good for these graduates, because engaged employees feel emotionally connected to the mission and purpose of their work, but it is also good for their employers. Engaged workers are the lifeblood of their organizations. Previous Gallup workplace engagement studies show that business units scoring in the top half of their organization in employee engagement have nearly double the odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.
The potential benefits of applied internships are numerous -- these graduates are more likely to feel prepared for life, they are more likely to be employed full time for an employer and they are more likely to be engaged at work. The higher percentage of recent graduates who report taking part in these programs may be a positive sign that more students -- and colleges and employers -- are beginning to realize the value of these experiences.
Results for this Gallup-Purdue Index study are based on Web interviews conducted Feb. 4-March 7, 2014, with a random sample of 29,560 respondents with a bachelor's degree or higher, aged 18 and older, with Internet access, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of bachelor's degree or higher respondents that graduated between 2010 and 2014, the margin of sampling error is ±3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
For results based on the total sample of bachelor's degree or higher respondents that graduated prior to 2010, the margin of sampling error is ±0.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
For results based on the total sample of bachelor's degree or higher respondents that graduated between 2010 and 2014 and are employed full time by an employer, the margin of sampling error is ±4.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
For results based on the total sample of bachelor's degree or higher respondents that graduated prior to 2010 and are employed full time by an employer, the margin of sampling error is ±1.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
The Gallup-Purdue Index sample was compiled from two sources; the Gallup Panel and the Gallup Daily Tracking survey.
Learn more about the Gallup-Purdue Index methodology.