Management reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute
In Korea's difficult job market, internships have become a target for both college students and companies. Students gain valuable experience working at a specific company and a way to differentiate themselves, and more and more companies use internships as a hiring tool to gain a far better understanding of a person's capabilities and personality than an interview can provide.
According to Korea Employers Federation's survey, 95% of the programs aim at identifying prospective employees and about half of the interns end up with regular positions. Overall, companies are highly satisfied with the capabilities of intern-turned employees. However, both companies and interns express frustration over the internship experience.
In a recent survey of 438 former interns by research firm Macromillembrain, the biggest complaint was heavy workload (25.6%), followed by being ignored (24.7%), competition among interns (24%) and idle time (18.7%). Samsung Economic Research Institute's own survey of ex-interns included confusion about tasks and evaluation procedures. Statements included, "The teams that we were assigned to had to think about what work to give us" and "We were confused because they did not give us evaluation criteria."
At companies, middle-management employees expressed frustration with the lack of time to mentor interns and insufficient company guidelines on the work assignments and responsibilities that interns should be given and in the evaluation method.
Leading global companies promote internship programs in a way they publicize positive aspects of their companies to talented people. It is part of their "Employee Value Proposition," the rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance. As interns work as employees, they can experience the merits of an organization.
Search engine giant Google was named the top-rated company in handling interns in 2012 and this year by US job information website Glassdoor.com. Interns can access vital information, including strategic corporate directions, while being granted a chance to join globally influential projects. In a collaborative atmosphere, interns work closely with regular employees and enjoy the company perks such as free food and liberal rest time.
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