What is the average salary for interns and placement students?

Mar 28, 2024 | Home Featured, Opinion, Sector & policy

Interns and placement students play an important role in graduate recruitment with many becoming permanent employees further down the line. ISE data shows what employers tend to pay to engage these students in the early stages of their careers.

As well as graduates and school and college leavers, employers recruit a range of short-term hires.

ISE distinguishes between interns and placement students. Undergraduates who are hired for a short term (less than six months and usually over the Easter or summer break), we call interns.

Those who are hired for longer term (typically six months to a year), usually in the middle of a student’s undergraduate degree (sometimes called a ‘sandwich year’ or a ‘year in industry’), we call placement students.

These roles provide an important pathway into the graduate labour market with employers recruiting around 40% of former interns and placement students into graduate jobs.

Employers also find students who have undertaken this type of work experience programme are more work-ready than those who haven’t.

ISE Student Recruitment Survey provides an annual benchmark of what employers pay students taking on internships or work placements.

As well as reporting average salaries, data is split by sector. ISE salary information is also available for graduates, apprentices and school leavers.

Typical salaries for interns and placement students

The latest edition of ISE’s Student Recruitment survey reported the typical (median) salary is slightly more for interns.

Students employed as interns were typically paid £23,306 (6% year-on-year increase), while placement students received £23,000 (7% increase).

Intern and placement student salaries by sector

The salaries paid to interns and placement students are not the same, they also vary by sector.

People starting out in energy, engineering and industry are among the lowest earners while students going into finance or IT jobs can expect to take home some of the highest wages.

Sector Intern salaries Placement salaries

Read more information on early careers salaries including historical data in ISE Student Recruitment Survey.

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