To hear interns tell it, working at Google is tops. A software engineering intern there lands an average of $6,463 a month, according to career site Glassdoor. Google interns reported getting good time in with higher-ups and opportunities to sit in on meetings; their experiences were the most satisfying compared to interns at other companies.
The report includes commentary from interns working at nearly 3,300 companies over the last three years.
Next best: Microsoft, where research interns earn $6,746 each month. The rest of the 10 best-rated internships includes spots at Qualcomm, MTV Networks, State Farm, Intel, GE, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Cisco.
Employers are expected to boost their internship hiring by nearly 9% this summer but are paying interns less, according to a report last month from the National Assn. of Colleges and Employers.
Undergraduate interns will get $14.21 an hour – down 2.8% from last year, with freshmen getting $13.91 an hour and seniors earning $17.57. Engineering majors have the highest rate: $20.79 an hour, nearly as much as general masters degree level interns, who earn $21.93 an hour (a 9.4% decline).
But more than 80% of companies now plan to offer some sort of added benefit to interns, such as social activities and paid holidays. Nearly 60% of firms will help interns with relocation costs.
First, though, prospective interns need to ace the interview. Amazon has the roughest process, according to Glassdoor, with questions such as the following: “You have a ping pong ball. It is the same diameter as a tube that it is in. It is buried 3 feet under concrete. How do you get it out”
Other filtering techniques: “What does a college dorm look like in ten years (Microsoft)?” “So why do you think you’re a genius (Procter & Gamble)?”
But for all the tech-centric companies at the top of the pile, intern-seeking businesses generally reserve just 1% of their recruiting budgets to online networking, instead preferring to find candidates at career fairs and on-campus information and recruiting sessions, according to NACE.
In the aftermath of the recession, many laid-off workers are competing with students for internship positions, which can often lead to jobs. The NACE study found that employers are now turning nearly 59% of interns into full-time hires – a record.
A study last year by the Heldrich Center at Rutgers University found that students who had internship experience earned a median salary that was $6,680 higher than their non-intern peers.