Approximately 60 percent of 2012 college graduates who took part in paid internships received at least one job offer, according to results of a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s 2012 Student Survey also found that unpaid interns fared only slightly better in getting job offers than graduates who had not taken part in an internship. Thirty-seven percent of unpaid interns received job offers; 36 percent of graduates with no internship experience received job offers.

“These results are consistent with what we saw last year with the Class of 2011,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “Students with a paid internship have a decided advantage in the job market over those who did an unpaid internship or didn’t do an internship at all.”

Although there are other factors that affect offer rate, the study also suggests that differences in the type of work undertaken by paid and unpaid interns contribute to the discrepancy in job offers.

“Paid interns spend much of their time engaged in real- work; employers prize that kind of hands-on experience. Conversely, unpaid interns spend more time on clerical tasks and less on the type of duties that employers value,” Mackes said.

Results show that paid interns spent 42 percent of their time on professional duties (analysis and project management) and just 25 percent on clerical and non-essential functions; unpaid interns spent 31 percent of their time on clerical and non-essential work and 30 percent on professional tasks.

Each year, NACE surveys college students on careers, employment, and job-search related issues. NACE’s 2012 Student Survey was conducted mid-January through April 30, 2012. Nearly 48,000 college students nationwide, including 15,715 seniors at the bachelor’s degree level, took part in the survey. (Note: Results presented in this release are based on responses from 2012 graduates who had applied for a job at the time of the survey.)

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