Google tops a list of best-rated internships. (Mark Lennihan / AP Photo )
Summer internships are often competitive, stressful and less than lucrative. But in the rarefied realm of the most superior of internships, there’s free meals, social mixers and plenty of pay to be had.
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.