Students Want to Work in Government

Edwin Koc, research director for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) says for today’s students “taking home a hefty paycheck and quickly climbing the career ladder are not as important. They prize personal growth and opportunities to contribute to their communities over financial gain.”

NACE is a respected leader in its field. When it asked thousands of students expected to graduate college at the end of this academic year to identify the top industries in which they preferred to begin their careers, the leaders — by a wide margin — were:

  1. Government
  2. Human Services
  3. Education
  4. Social Services

A Mississippi State University professor adds, “The motivation to work in the public sector stems from a desire to help others. Young people in America are socialized with that aspect in mind.”

The comments from the 2013-2014 class are being backed up by students in the last few years who are enrolling in public administration or public affairs graduate problems at high levels. For example:

  • Graduate enrollment at the Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs has surged 48% since 2008
  • Overall, a Council of Graduate School study revealed first-time enrollment for public administration and services programs equaled growth for engineering students and outpaced business degree enrollment

Some would consider this a troubling trend due to the private sector struggling to find workers with the appropriate skills. I’ll go the other way, pointing out (as the Governing article does) that many of these students with public administration training end up pursuing careers in the non-profit or private sectors. More importantly, the attitude of serving the public and wanting to make a difference is strongly welcomed.

Internships More Valuable Than Ever as Talent Resource

It’s easy to list specific reasons why an organization should start an internship program: increased productivity, enhanced creativity, effective recruitment – to name a few. But it’s the coveted notion of saving time and money while getting quality results that’s music to the ears of any Indiana employer considering an internship program.

In fact, these days when hiring for a full-time position, some organizations may not have the time or financial resources to recruit a seasoned individual. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2012 Internship and Co-op Survey (based on 952 employer responses), nearly 85% of employers said that they use internship programs as a tool for recruiting entry-level talent.

NACE’s survey also indicated that 58.6% of respondents’ full-time entry level hires from the class of ’11 were from their internship programs, an all-time high for the conversion rate.

With the rising cost of recruitment, this transitioning of interns into full-time hires may be the most viable option for some employers. NACE’s survey shows the average acceptance rate for full-time positions was astoundingly high at nearly 90%, which lowers the cost-per-hire; therefore, there is no doubt that hiring from an internship program decreases recruiting costs. 

NACE’s survey also found a positive correlation between internship experience and employee retention. Approximately three-out-of-four employees who had previously interned with their organizations were still employed there after one year. Meanwhile, 62.4% of previous interns remained with their organization after five years. 

Adding an intern—or several interns—to your organization is not only a smart recruiting strategy, it’s good business. Corporations, small businesses and non-profits can give back to the community through mentoring and offering a position to an individual seeking an internship.

There couldn’t be a more perfect time to begin your internship program. With more than 4,800 Indiana employers and about 9,000 students registered, Indiana INTERNnet is a great place to begin those internship connections. If you haven’t already, visit to register for a free employer or student account. 

Survey: Recent Grads Looking for Job Security, Advancement Above All Else

Do young people take more risks?

Perhaps they’re more daring when it comes to trying organic cuisine, implementing an aggressive 401(k) investment strategy, or listening to that dangerous and provocative Elvis Presley "rock and roll" music, as they call it.

But when it comes to their first jobs, a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates security and opportunity for advancement are top priorities. In fact, security ranks well above opportunities to pursue personal development and display creativity. Also of note, the students weren’t too concerned about the company taking an active role in the community.

Edwin L. Koc writes in the May 2008 NACE Journal:

"The fact that ‘company takes an active role in the community’ finishes 13th out of 15 in terms of importance is especially interesting because so much has been made of this generation’s community consciousness."


"The fact that financial security is the hallmark characteristic of this year’s graduating college seniors is frankly surprising. Most of the students in this generation come from families that would generally be viewed as relatively well-off."

To view the survey results, click here.