I recently moderated a roundtable event in our west coast U.S. office, where corporate mobility professionals discussed the issues and opportunities they face when supporting internships.
As companies face tighter competition for the best available talent, internships provide an opportunity to fuel their talent pipeline and present themselves as an employer of choice. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the intern conversion rate in 2015 was 51.7 percent, making internships a healthy recruiting solution. Even more importantly, this report indicated that employees who completed an internship (or co-op program) with their employer are more likely to still be with the company at both the one-year and five-year retention benchmarks.
Participants at our roundtable agreed that when organizations cannot source the right talent locally, they rely on proven mobility practices to transfer resources between offices. Early planning and the right resources (online tools, mentor programs, and personal counseling) enable mobility teams to address issues early on so that they can work strategically with their managers to ensure a positive experience for the employee and the eventual success of either program. The same philosophy works for internships.
One common challenge found among participants with intern programs is the lack of available housing and high cost for temporary accommodations. Participants agreed that early planning is key to getting ahead of other companies competing for limited housing for interns, and that while corporations with large programs and high numbers of interns will have less flexibility, they are more likely to leverage their volume to secure housing. Many companies have looked to local colleges for dorm availability, but available dates for these dorms do not necessarily align with internships and rotational assignments.
It is also interesting to note that the competition for talent extends even to interns. In some markets, competition is so intense that interns with highly specialized skills often find themselves weighing a number of offers, with many companies offering stipends to seal the deal. In the competitive West Coast U.S. market, companies don’t mind paying top dollar for the opportunity to introduce top talent to their company, in hopes of securing the candidate for a permanent role within the organization after graduation.
For more on internships, take a look at the attached infographic with statistics from Weichert’s Workforce Mobility Survey (click to enlarge).