Why are Summer Internships so important?

37% of this year's graduate vacancies are expected to be filled by applicants who have already worked for the organisation during their degree course. For the majority of employers who offer work experience places, such schemes have become an integral part of recruiting new graduates. This means that once you have successfully completed an internship, employers are offering you a graduate position, a full year before you leave univeristy.

2/3rds of the top 100 employers offer summer internships to penultimate year students and 3/5th offer industrial placements lasting between 6-12 months. Over half of recruiters, taking part in research,  stated that it was not very likely that a graduate with no work experience would be successful during their selection process and would have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their graduate programmes.

Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research, said: “in this highly competitive graduate job market, new graduates who’ve not had any work experience during their time at university have little or no chance of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the university they’ve attended or the academic results they achieve.”

"Increasingly most major employers across most industries run summer placements."

Internships are usually 2-10 week paid programmes for university students in July and August of your penultimate university year. This now forms the main basis for many employers graduate intake. This is particularly true of certain industries such as Banking, Law, Consulting and Engineering; less so in terms of retail and media.  It makes lots of sense as the employers can make a decision on the basis of an 8-10 week association rather than a half-day assessment centre.

The largest numbers of placements are at the investment banks. It is interesting that investment banking is one of three sectors where the number of placements on offer from employers outstrips or matches the number of permanent jobs available to graduates.

"It is therefore particularly important that students wanting to enter sectors such as law, banking, engineering and consulting obtain a summer internship."

The leading retailers and public sector employers have a particularly low ratio of work placements to graduate jobs, making it hard for students interested in these areas to get experience before they apply for graduate roles.


Who provides summer Internships?

Here are some of the most notable internships for different sectors. The list is not exhaustive, but does include all the largest employers.  Be aware that companies offer a whole range of opportunities irrespective of the sector they are in. So if you are interested in HR or marketing for example, then the science and engineering companies may also offer those internships as well as the more obvious retail organisations.

Click on the following links to access internships in each of the following sectors:

Industry or Business Sector

Ratio of work experience places to graduate vacancies

Accounting & Professional Services 31:100
Banking & Finance 60:100
Consulting 30:100
Consumer Goods 64:100
Engineering & Industrial 53:100
Investment Banking 121:100
IT & Telecommunications 100:100
Law 102:100
Media 28:100
Oil & Energy 57:100
Public Sector 18:100
Retailing 21:100

All Sectors


The process involved with getting a summer internship is fairly similar to that of applying for graduate jobs. It is likely there will be an online application, online aptitude tests, formal interviews and an assessment centre. Internships can be highly competitive, in fact most internships receive more applications than employer's graduate schemes themselves.

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