Facing a critical lack of skilled workers, some U.S. hiring decision-makers are looking to create their own trained workforce as more than 2 in 5 companies (44%) say they plan to offer internships in 2022 with 94% likely to hire interns as part- or full-time employees afterward.
This is according to a new survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.
Of those companies offering internship opportunities, an average of 58 positions will be available, and the majority (84%) of hiring decision-makers say interns will be paid for their time.
“There was a shortage in skilled trades talent before the market worsened, so any opportunities companies can create to bring in entry-level employees and match them into apprenticeships or internships for skilled work is a leg-up on every other company out there not offering them,” said Kaylee Cooper, managing director of skilled trades recruiting and apprenticeships at the Express franchise in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “If you cannot find more talent, but you can grow your own, you’re truly ahead of your competitors.”
Cooper’s colleague, Heather Merrick, says that internships in human resources, marketing and IT have been common for years, and many universities require these for engineering programs, as well. Merrick is the managing director for the local Specialized Recruiting Group, an Express Employment Professionals company.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of companies related to the supply-chain willing to hire an intern or to train someone from the ground up in purchasing, materials planning or other related roles,” she said. “Much of this is attributable to the supply chain difficulties and a mass exodus from the market at the mid-level of the supply chain. People are leaving the field and changing careers due to the challenges, and more entry-level candidates are having to step up into bigger positions to fill that gap.”
In Texas, Express franchise owner Nancy Reed says welders are in short supply in her region because of the competition for talent with the oil industry in the central part of the state. To combat this, local employers created a welding internship to provide on-the-job training to recent graduates.
“Hopefully, this will encourage them to stay local instead of leaving for higher-paying jobs,” she said.
For those considering internships, Reed encourages them to take every opportunity seriously, as it could be the first step in their career and a great chance to network.
Merrick adds that internships are a great chance to stretch outside your comfort zone and grow.
“It’s an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and add value, not just observe and study,” she said. “Even if the company decides to not turn the internship into a permanent opportunity, the experience gained is incredibly valuable and will assist in finding a role post-graduation.”
Early, on-the-job experience is invaluable and that knowledge transfer between experts and younger generations is even more important with baby boomers retiring in droves, according to Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller.
“With a large number of internships and apprenticeships expected to be offered by companies this year, those looking to break into new fields should jump at the chance to add real-world experience to their resumes and an advantage over their competition,” he added.