Although the recession broke major unemployment records, the number of internships offered has increased significantly.
Since the start of the recession, 44 percent of organizations have increased the number of internship positions, according to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management.
The survey also found 34 percent of organizations offered more internships this year compared to 2012.
Tara Fournier, manager of member engagement at the society, said it’s more important now than ever before to get an internship because a lot of positions require experience.
A competitive job market is one of the driving forces for students to be more proactive about finding internships, she said.
“It does take longer for the student population to find work,” Fournier said. “I do think they are starting to understand that it’s important to get internships as early and as often as possible.”
In 2012, the average time it took an unemployed American to find a job was 39 weeks, according to internships.com.
But the website, the society’s official partner since 2011, found that seven out of 10 internships turn into full-time jobs.
More than 75 percent of employers who offer intern positions pay their interns, according to the survey.
Fournier said employment laws are changing, which could explain the increase in paid internships reported in the survey.
“Interns are valuable and do make a lot of positive contributions to a company,” Fournier said. “I think employers are just starting to see that.”
Forty-one percent of organizations reported finding interns through on-campus recruitment, according to the survey.
Internships give people hands-on experience and the option to test the waters in the areas they’re interested in, said Joshua Minchin, a UF public relations senior.
“I think they give you an accurate representation of the real world,” the 21-year-old said.
Minchin interned at Southern Legal Counsel in the summer and said a lot of the good competitive internships fill up early. Many students will start applying to internships months before the deadlines.
“The perception is that internships can help you get ahead,” he said. “You’re showing your potential employer that you’re competent and that you’re good at what you do.”
A version of this story ran on page 1 on 11/12/2013 under the headline "Number of internships increased, study says"