Source: Why
do we hire so few interns in NZ? – NZRise

Mankelow says New Zealand companies and organisations hired
352 interns last summer. That’s not many when you consider
more than 2000 students applied for positions. Applying
takes a fair amount of effort, so there are many
disappointed students.

While the business of taking on
interns can be open to abuse, it’s an essential part of any
programme to match companies and organisations with
potential employment candidates.

Mankelow runs Summer of
Tech, a programme that aims to find internships for
students. It is clear that not enough New Zealand companies
are using tech interns.

Weak excuses

In his
post at the NZ Rise website, Mankelow looks at the reasons
employers gave choose to take on interns.

Now there’s a
problem right there. When customers choose not to buy
something they often offer plausible sounding reasons
without revealing the thinking behind their

It’s stretching credibility to think
prospective employers don’t do the same when choosing not to
hire interns.

So what they tell Mankelow may not be the
real reasons companies choose not to take on young employees
for a summer-long test drive.

Not all the reasons are
good. What none of them are going to admit is that they are
shortsighted, lazy or cheapskate to take part. Some are free
riders. They’ll cynically let other companies take the
interns they may hope to hire later.

Not a good

Even if you take the reasons given to Mankelow
at face value, they don’t always look good. Take the idea
that interns cost too much. According to Mankelow a typical
intern costs less than $10,000 in wages. Companies are able
to get government grants through Callaghan Innovation for
almost that amount if they hire students for research and
development projects.

In other words you can get someone
with tech skills, even if those skills are still unpolished,
at a bargain price. Perhaps $1500 net cost after the

It stretches credibility to suggest a manager can’t
get that much value from an intern over a summer. In tech,
one good idea well executed can be worth far more than
$10,000, let along $1500 or so. Bosses would normally kill
for that kind of return on investment.

Which brings us to
this year. Sure, the economy is likely to be in a down
cycle. But unless circumstances change fast, companies with
skilled vacancies to fill are not going to be able to
recruit ready-made employees from overseas. This would be a
good time to bring in capable young minds to power through
any work backlog and line up potential employees for a year
or so later.

So, if you are reading this and you run a
business, you’ve got about three or four months to come up
with a worthwhile summer research and development

NZ companies should hire more tech
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