By Nathan Parcells | Posted: August 27, 2013
In years past, offering paid internships may have been your secret ingredient to gaining the outstanding interest of potential interns.
Today, the average hourly wage for a bachelor’s degree intern is $16.26. This means simply paying your interns isn’t going to set you ahead of your competition.
With the legal requirement of a mandatory minimum wage for all internship programs falling under the the Fair Labor Standards Act, it’s time for you to be creative in ensuring that your internship program stands out to the best and brightest students in your industry.
Students report that financial compensation is one of the least important internship perks, behind things like resume building and networking opportunities. So as soon as an employer is paying above minimum wage, alternative forms of compensation hold more weight with candidates than higher pay does
Here are six alternative forms of compensation worth considering for your interns:
1. Networking opportunities
Interns want to rub shoulders with the experts in their industry, so why not give them the chance?
Consider providing interns with amazing networking opportunities throughout your industry. Let them travel with you to trade shows, conferences, events, seminars and presentations.
One audacious CEO from 42Floors even mentioned bringing his interns to venture capital meetings as a way to build a stronger intern culture and help them to gain more experience. When given opportunities like this, interns will be certain to make meaningful connections and gain important industry insight.
2. School credit eligibility
Work with your interns’ department advisers to ensure your internship is approved for school credit. This will give your internship program the stamp of approval as a learning experience complementary to the university curriculum.
Though offering a for-credit internship should never replace payment, it’s a great alternative perk for your interns.
3. Rotational programming
Want to give interns a highly immersive experience to fine-tune their versatility? Give them a greater view of your company and industry as a whole by offering them a chance to take on projects in multiple departments.
Not only is this a huge selling point for students looking to gain a variety of different skills and experiences, it’s also a great way to make your interns more competitive members of your industry in the long run. Many companies are making the switch from traditional internships into rotational programs for this very reason.
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