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Students with internships report higher salaries, more job offers

June 17, 2008

College students who seek out career-related internships during their undergraduate years have an easier time finding jobs after graduation and earn higher starting salaries, according to a survey of ASU’s December graduates.

About 82 percent of survey respondents who received offers reported that internships helped them get their first job out of college. The average salary offer for undergraduate internship recipients was $45,411, while those without internship experience had an average salary offer of $43,855.

"Internships give students additional contacts in the professional world and help them become a known quantity to employers,” says Elaine Stover, interim director of ASU Career Services, which conducted the survey last November, just before December’s graduation ceremony. “Students with internships also are in a better position to evaluate businesses, and to make more informed career decisions.”

Seventy percent of the 1,621 respondents – who comprise about a third of the December graduating class – had received at least one job offer before graduation.

The survey also found that 86 percent of the graduating seniors accepted jobs in Arizona, even though they may have grown up elsewhere. Nine out of 10 students had career-related experience.

Among the undergraduate majors with more than 10 students reporting job offers, computer systems engineering students had the highest average offer, at $59,985. Next were general building construction majors ($58,415); electrical engineering ($58,010); nursing ($54,477); computer information systems ($52,769); and supply chain management ($51,013).

Salaries for other majors with a high number of undergraduates reporting offers were civil engineering ($48,961); finance ($45,155); accountancy ($43,907); communication $42,253; interdisciplinary studies ($37,226); and elementary education ($30,268). The highest average job offers reported were received by doctoral students in electrical engineering, with an average offer of $99,563.

Reflecting changes in gender parity, women’s salary offers were somewhat higher than men’s salaries in general building construction, electrical engineering, nursing, interdisciplinary studies and supply chain management. They were comparable in civil engineering and computer systems engineering, while male accountancy graduates earned slightly more.

The survey was conducted with assistance from the ASU Institute for Social Science Research. Results from a survey of May graduates will be available later in the summer.