NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®
mobile menu
  • Rotational Programs for Interns Remain Rare in 2017

    August 02, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    An intern begins his next assignment in his internship rotational program.

    TAGS: internships, compensation, trends and predictions, surveys, nace insights, co_ops

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Just 14.5 percent of employers responding to NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey featured rotational internship programs in 2017.

    While rotational internship programs were rare this year, it’s important to point out that the percentage of employers with rotational internship programs rises and falls with yearly intern hiring projections. (See Figure 1.)

    This suggests that employers’ ability to maintain rotational internship programs is very much tied to their ability to hire interns at all. Therefore, if this year’s positive hiring projections are the start of an ongoing trend, then rotational programs may become more common in the near future.

    Among the few employers with rotational programs, on average, 46.9 percent of interns they hired during the 2015-16 academic year participated in their rotational programs.

    The most common reasons for less than 100 percent participation in rotational programs were that an employer lacked the infrastructure (time, money, human resources, and more) to support full participation, or that rotational programs were only relevant to certain types of interns working in certain areas.

    The most common types of rotations for interns were those between different job positions (78.1 percent) and different departments (65.6 percent).

    Rotations between different U.S. locations were fairly common (31.3 percent), while rotations between different international locations were almost entirely unheard of (3.1 percent).

    NACE’s 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey was conducted from November 21, 2016, to February 17, 2017, from NACE employer members; there were 276 respondents, representing 26.4 percent of all eligible respondents. The 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey report is available to participants through MyNACE. An executive summary of the 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey is available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: Effect of Intern Hiring Projections on Rotational Internship Programs

    Year Intern Hiring
    % of Employers With an
    Intern Rotational Program
    2017 3.4% 14.5%
    2016 -4.8% 11.1%
    2015 0.0% 17.8%
    2014 -3.4% 17.0%
    2013 2.7% 22.1%
    2012 7.5% 22.2%
    2011 6.8% 20.8%
    2010 -2.8% 14.9%
    Source: 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. Bivariate Pearson correlation results: r = 0.761, p < 0.05.