A recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on graduates of the class of 2015 has found that paid interns at private, for-profit companies both have a higher chance of getting a full-time position and make higher salaries than their unpaid counterparts.
Specifically, it was found that a robust 72.2 percent of those with paid internships at a for-profit firm received a job offer after college. Only 43.9 percent of unpaid interns at for-profit firms received a similar job offer.
While the rates between job offers for paid and unpaid interns are more modest in other sectors, such as non-profits and government, a double-digit gap favoring paid interns still remained.
As for pay, private, for-profit firms offered 2015 grads who had a paid internship a median salary of $53,521. Comparable grads who accepted an unpaid internship at a similar for-profit firm only had a median salary of $34,375.
Once again, the gap wasn’t as extreme for other sectors. Those with paid internships at non-profits had a median salary about $10,000 higher than those who had unpaid internships; federal government only saw a median salary hike of about $6,000.
It should be mentioned that having had no internship— or similar experience, such as a co-op— made one least likely to get a job offer at 36.5 percent.
NACE’s study surveyed 39,950 students in 2015 who were about to graduate from an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program.