Intern to Full-Time Hire Conversion: “Returning” vs “Nonreturning” Interns

July 21, 2015 | By NACE Staff

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TAGS: conversion, graduate outcomes, Internships, metrics, trends and predictions,

Are students who repeat their internship experience with an organization more likely to convert to full-time hires?

Employers taking part in the NACE 2015 Internship & Co-op Survey were asked to supply data regarding returning interns and co-ops—students who served an internship/co-op then returned to the same organization for another such experience.

The “returning” nature of the student had no discernible effect on the pace at which eligible interns and co-ops accepted offers.

It did, however, affect their ability to get an offer.

In fact, nearly 90 percent of eligible returning interns received an offer of full-time employment, and nearly 90 percent of those accepted. In comparison, just 43.5 percent of nonreturning interns were offered a job with their internship employer. Like their returning counterparts, nonreturning interns were highly likely to accept the offer (86 percent).

The same pattern can be seen among co-ops: Approximately 58 percent of returning co-ops received job offers compared to 41 percent of those who were nonreturners. In terms of acceptances, both groups performed about the same: Nearly 75 percent of returning co-ops took the job, while almost 76 percent of nonreturning co-ops signed on.

Overall, employers reported converting an average an average of 51.7 percent of their eligible interns into full-time hires, in line with the 51.2 percent conversion rate reported in the 2014 iteration of the survey.

The overall average conversion rate for co-op students was lower at 37.8 percent, down from 46.7 percent reported in the 2014 survey—a drop that may have more to do with the small number of employers providing co-op data than with any actual trend in co-op conversion.

What is your conversion rate? Calculate your intern/co-op conversion rate with this conversion worksheet.

NACE’s 2015 Internship & Co-op Survey was conducted December 3, 2014, through January 30, 2015; 241 NACE employer members supplied data for the survey, a 24.8 percent response rate. Highlights from the survey are available on NACEWeb.