How Much Do Engineering Interns Make?

How Much Do Engineering Interns Make This Sunday will be the international day dedicated to trainees, the opportunity to draw up a picture of this special status and to take stock of their level of compensation.

The internship has many advantages, both for students and for businesses. For students, this is their first professional experience which allows them to discover a branch or a trade, to build a network and to transpose the courses to real business issues.

For the company, engineering interns represents a potential employee whose employer can judge the work capacities (if he wishes to recruit him at the end of the internship). This can save precious time in recruitment. The trainee can also take a fresh look and bring new ideas and new skills. As for the time spent training him, it is amply compensated by the low expenses linked to his compensation.

To be or not to be paid?

In the world of interns we don’t talk about salary or remuneration, but gratification. In fact, trainees have student and non-salaried status. Companies that recruit an engineering interns are obliged to pay a gratuity when the duration of the internship is more than 2 consecutive months (i.e. 44 days worked at 7 hours a day). The legal minimum for this is set at € 3.75 per hour on January 1, 2019, which makes € 577.50 per month.

Below these 44 days of work, the company has no obligation of gratuity, because it is estimated that during its first two months, the trainee is in training and therefore represents the time invested by the company. Many structures still offer compensation to trainees, even if they are not obliged to do so.

How to transform your internship into your first job?

The final year internship can prove to be decisive for the start of a future graduate’s career and can enable him to get his first job. However, it is essential to adopt the right attitude to score points and catch the eye of the recruiter. Here is the advice of our recruiters…

“You have to show your motivation and your desire to continue the adventure” – Fabrice Losson, Recruitment Director at Sopra Steria.

“Sopra Steria regularly welcomes many interns and is truly part of a pre-hiring approach for end-of-study internships. However, this is not automatic: the proposal is subject to the quality of the internship. We are sensitive to several elements: the rise in technical skills, the capacity to gain autonomy, the capacity to recognize one’s limits and to alert to be helped… We expect trainees to take initiatives, to be proactive, proactive, curious, reliable, able to work in a team… Also pay attention to interpersonal skills and attitude. You have to show your motivation and your desire to continue the adventure within the company rather than staying in passive mode. ”

“To get a job, don’t hesitate to use your network” – Jean-Christophe Gaillard, Human Resources Manager at Capgemini.

“We assess technological skills, that is, how the trainee puts into practice his theoretical knowledge learned at school. We also judge the posture of the consultant: his capacity for analysis, his spirit of synthesis, his capacity to grasp new subjects, to adapt to different environments and to “switch” between them, his proactivity to seek out solutions, his curiosity… Capgemini works for clients from very different business sectors. Cooptation is an important recruitment channel, because our employees and ex-interns are our best ambassadors. To get a job, do not hesitate to send your CV, to play on your network, to share your enthusiasm. ”

“Get involved, offer things and want to learn! ” – Vincent Mattei, Head of Employment Relations and Mobility schools France at  Thales.

“An internship is a first rich professional experience for a student. This allows you to discover life in business but above all a job. It is also an opportunity to start building a professional network. As a recruiter, we expect our trainees to have technical skills, acquired at school and developed in more depth in business, but also a certain know-how. Demonstrating curiosity, interest, investment and adaptability is an undeniable asset for companies which, like Thales, promote the recruitment of their trainees. So, be curious, ask questions, find out what your colleagues are doing, take notes, get involved, suggest things and want to learn! We must also think about “after”: It is possible that your future employer will take references from your former training supervisor. It is therefore necessary that the latter has felt all your involvement and your motivation. This can only be a considerable advantage. ”

“You are an outside and new look that can bring a lot to the company, so show your motivation and your added value!” ” – Laetitia Poyet-Maya, Recruitment Partner Rhône-Alpes and East Area at Atos

“The internship is an effective way to be recruited by the host company, however you must be vigilant on a number of points. First, work on your professional project to target companies and offers in line with your aspirations. Try as much as possible to identify a rewarding internship offer that will promote your employability, and to project yourself into the company in the medium term.

Once in training, all is not won! You have a foothold in the business but you still have to prove yourself: show commitment to your missions and enthusiasm on a daily basis and above all, take initiatives! Do not stay in the background, be proactive in suggesting new tasks that you may be given, be proactive in improving practices or implementing new solutions. You are an outside and new look that can bring a lot to the company, so show your motivation and your added value! But be careful not to overdo it: do not give a lesson because companies expect dynamism but also humility!

Finally, when the time is right, submit your application and if your internship went well, do not hesitate to ask for sponsorship from your manager! Use the internal relationships you have built throughout your internship to promote your candidacy and identify job opportunities within the company. I would add that you should not neglect your CV and highlighting the missions of your internship. Even if your application is internal, your CV remains an essential tool to highlight your profile. ”

Who is the internship for?

Can be a trainee, anyone undergoing public or private training, at university, school or in an institute. The only condition is to have an internship agreement (which sets the duration of the internship, working hours, as well as the amount of the gratuity). This internship can be exercised in a company, institution or within an association. For people who are not in school and wish to carry out an internship, the local mission can issue internship agreements free of charge. Conditions ? Be under 25 and have a professional project in mind. For those over 25, certain distance learning and training organizations can issue internship agreements.

How do you recognize a good internship?

Reading an internship offer, it is difficult to guess whether it can enrich our professional career or not. However, there are a few tips for recognizing a good internship. Here is the advice of our two experts.

” An excellent internship is obviously also the one that will give the student self-confidence”  – Frédérique Rossi – Head of corporate relations and alumni network of the ISEG Group – Bordeaux Campus.

“Among all the indicators that help assess the value of an internship, four seem particularly useful and interesting to me. First of all study the description. The internship offer must be complete and precise without being too standardized. The company thus demonstrates that it is not looking for an “all-rounder” intern, but on the contrary a well-made head to participate and contribute to the success of its projects, while leaving, of course, the door open to the ideas that abound in the student’s brain.

A good internship is most often carried out in a promising and job-creating sector of activity. It should not be forgotten that many internships turn into permanent contracts. It is even often the recruitment process of certain companies delighted to be able to count in the long term on future collaborators whom they will have discovered and trained. An excellent internship is obviously also the one that will give the student self-confidence. Confidence in his skills but also in his know-how. It is therefore essential to have good supervision by an available and caring internship supervisor while being demanding in order to advance the student in his acquisition of professional practices. Finally, a good internship is one that opens its “after-sales service” by offering the student to obtain recommendations, among others on LinkedIn, and which will open his network to help him achieve his professional project.”

“A good internship should not be a” catch-all “internship” – Lucie Baudouin, Director of Digital Campus in Rennes.

“Often, the students’ task is made easier because many companies benefit from a strong reputation and a good image which make them naturally attractive. However, you should not hesitate to seek out and verify information. You can also rely on word of mouth. Be careful, however, about internships offered by small one-person structures, managed by only one or two people who do not ultimately have time available for the trainee or, in the worst case, looking for low-cost labor. At Digital Campus, we are vigilant on this point.

Furthermore, a good internship should not be a “catch-all” internship: it should allow the student to fulfill a well-defined mission. “Job” internships are generally good internships. If necessary, the mission must be clearly identified within the company and well supported: you must have a referent during your internship who will help you to gain competence.

At Digital Campus, we note that the prerequisites required in most internships are very high, which not only constitutes a barrier for our youngest students looking for their first internship, but means that the engineering interns will undoubtedly have to occupy a position of responsibility, just like a real employee of the company. This can be quite heavy for a trainee who is not well supported. Also, it is at school, during CV workshops, to support students in their search for an internship adapted to their profile. “Towards better rewarded internships?

Good news for future interns, the AJStage firm revealed a study carried out with 1,200 people: the average compensation paid monthly to interns is € 686 in 2019, or 8% more than the previous year. Depending on the duration of the internship, the welcoming structure, the sector and the training carried out, the rewards are not the same. We thus observe that 6-month internships are better compensated (€ 860) than shorter internships (€ 686).

In terms of gratuity by structure, these are the associations which are at the bottom of the scale, with an average of € 601, and at the top the large groups whose average amounts to € 1020 monthly.

The reward is also very uneven between the sectors. The bank best compensates its trainees with an average of € 1,320 monthly, followed by consulting firms (€ 1,102) and audit firms (€ 1,090). At the bottom of the ranking, tourism (€ 642) and communication (€ 592).

Finally, training is a criterion taken into account in the calculation of the gratuity: the IEPs (Institutes of Political Studies) are the best off with an average compensation of € 834 per month, followed by business schools with € 743 and engineering schools with 720 €. At the bottom of the ranking, there are communication schools (€ 456) and bacs +2 (€ 217). The latter case is justified by the relatively short duration of the internships (2-3 weeks), which means that companies have no obligation to reward them.

Laws to regulate drifts

From 2006 to 2014, the number of trainees in France increased from 600,000 to 1.6 million, according to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. This “trainee rush” is explained by the fact that many companies took advantage of this free labor to perform tasks normally intended for employees. To curb this trend, the law of 10 July 2014 was adopted, aimed at promoting the development of quality internships, avoiding internships replacing jobs and improving the status of interns.

Companies must now comply with certain rules, including:

  • A waiting period between two internships, which corresponds to ? of the duration of the previous internship. Example: after a 3-month internship, the company must wait 1 month before welcoming a new engineering interns to the same position.
  • The duration of the internship (s) in the same organization cannot exceed six months per teaching year.
  • Trainees are entitled to meal vouchers, as well as partial coverage of collective transport costs, like other employees.
  • Compulsory gratuity from the 44th day worked.
  • No trainee can be recruited to cope with a temporary increase in the activity of the host organization.
  • The number of trainees in a company must not exceed 15 to 20% of the total workforce

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