Attract new talent with an A+ intern program

October 6, 2018 8:49:00 AM EDT | By: Jacqueline Briggs

An internship program is a great way to gain access to the next generation of educated workers before they officially begin the job search. In fact, nearly 60 percent of interns are offered a full-time position, and 77 percent accept those positions, according to the 2018 Internship and Co-op Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

average_intern_relocation_cost_2018Whether you’re thinking about building an internship program, or wondering how your current program stacks up, the Average Intern and Co-Op Relocation Cost chart shows the relocation costs for these positions based on more than 300 organization’s responses to the NACE 2018 study, which collected data from November 8, 2017, to March 2, 2018.

Although internships typically last only 10 to 12 weeks, they can be a worthwhile investment. Companies often recruit interns with the goal of hiring those that excel into full-time, long-term positions.

At one time, it may have been enough just to offer a relocation package to entice interns. However, the 2018 NACE survey reports that more than 58 percent of the participating organizations offer relocation packages to interns.

“If you’re interested in standing out to this desirable demographic of students and recent graduates, you’re going to have to offer something extra,” said Pam Buchanan, Global Policy Consulting Manager at Sterling Lexicon. “Creating a specific policy for interns can help you tailor your program to their unique needs.”

Make temporary housing a home

Because internships are typically low-level positions, it can be easy and seemingly cost-effective to allow students or recent grads to find their own housing. In the NACE report, nearly half of the organizations said students are responsible for finding their own housing.

However, if your long-term goal is to convert interns into full-time, loyal employees, it can be worthwhile to help them find a place or offer corporate housing. This can make their short-term assignment more comfortable and enjoyable in an area that meets their needs.

If you’re offering corporate housing, an ideal space would be close to work, safe and furnished. Many recent grads have minimal household goods, so providing the essentials can be a big incentive. Another benefit of corporate housing is that interns won’t have to negotiate a short-term lease. It can be difficult to impossible to find housing that will allow a renter to sign a short-term lease, depending on the area, and places that do often charge high premiums.

If corporate housing is not an option, a benefits package that helps interns find housing can be a good alternative. This ensures they find a place near work that’s safe and within their budget. The biggest benefit with both corporate housing and home finding services is that your new hire spends less time finding the right home, and more time focused on their new position.

The third option, offering a lump sum and allowing interns to find their own housing, is typically the least enticing of the three. However, if students or recent grads find housing for less than their lump sum, the additional money becomes extra income for them.

Cover travel costs

Paying for travel costs is another way to attract interns. In the NACE study, nearly half of employers said they provided reimbursement for round-trip travel costs based on travel policies. That was followed closely by 38 percent of employers who said they do not cover any travel costs. The least common travel policy was providing reimbursement for one-way travel costs only.

Travel costs can vary greatly depending on the starting point and the destination. One way to set up a policy is to outline a lump sum or reimbursement plan based on miles traveled.

For example, if an intern is coming from less than 50 miles away, a company may choose not to cover any travel costs. However, if they are traveling from more than 500 miles, the company may offer a lump sum for a plane ticket, or, if driving, a certain amount for mileage, hotels and meals for each day of travel. The average reimbursement limit in the study was $1,475 per student, with the average typical reimbursement rate coming to $983. Some companies also choose to cover transportation costs to and from work, as an added perk.

Speak the digital dialog

Another way to tailor your recruiting to students and recent graduates is to offer services and communication in a way that’s most comfortable to them.

Providing a digitally-focused experience may be attractive to this demographic. While a digital experience is a broad term, some specifics include communication through digital platforms, virtual move surveys, and online resources. You’ll also want to communicate that these services are available while recruiting.

If your provider does not offer a digital experience, it may be worthwhile to look for one that can create a program that allows interns to easily find, compare and book services online in their destination.

Team up for taxes

Whether paid or unpaid, interns have unique needs when it comes to tax purposes.

It can be time-consuming to prepare taxes for these individuals, especially since internships are typically short-term positions, so you’re likely to have multiple interns per year.

Companies can benefit from using a third-party provider to compute the tax liability, process expenses and have it ready in a year-end report forum. This takes the burden off the internal HR department or global mobility professionals, so they can focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

Retain your recruits

While it may seem like a lot of work to put together a tailored program for interns, the numbers show it’s worthwhile. One-year retention rates for employees with internal experience, meaning an internship at the company they were hired into, average 70.6 percent. The number drops to 65.8 percent for those hired with external internship experience, and 46.3 percent for those with no experience.


If you’re looking for a global relocation partner that listens to your needs to customize an intern program that has a real impact on attracting top talent, contact Sterling Lexicon today. 

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Topics: global mobility resources, intern relocation, global mobility internship program

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