The Highest-Paying Internships
What do Palantir, VMware, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have in common? Aside from all being tech companies based in the Bay Area, they pay their interns more than any other companies in America, according to a survey released by career website Glassdoor. Based on salary reports posted by at least 20 interns per company between January 2012 and January 2014, the survey reveals that interns at these firms earn an average of more than $6,200 a month. Annualized, that would be nearly $75,000 a year, well above the median U.S. household income of $53,000, according to the U.S. Census. It seems that the bidding war for tech talent starts earlier than entry-level hires.
Glassdoor describes itself as a kind of TripAdvisor for careers, because users post reviews of the companies where they work, giving it a huge repository of information about employers, including salaries.
The high intern salaries are especially striking in the context of the recent controversy about the legality of internships that pay less than the minimum wage, a practice that has been common in the publishing, fashion and entertainment business. But since last June, when a federal judge ruled in favor of production interns who had toiled for free at movie studio Fox Searchlight Pictures on the film Black Swan. interns have been protesting and filing lawsuits. Employers are either fighting back, paying more or dumping their internship programs altogether. In October, Condé Nast announced it was canceling internships at all of its magazines. In June, former interns at two Condé Nast magazines, The New Yorker and W. had filed suit, contending they were paid as little as $12 for 12-hour shifts.
That’s a far cry from the $42 an hour interns make at Palantir, the Palo Alto software company whose clients include the FBI and the CIA. It tops the Glassdoor list with a reported monthly intern salary of $7,000 (equaling a yearly salary of $84,000). The company currently lists 10 open internships. Most require programming skills but there’s one title I find especially intriguing: “Evangelism intern,” based in McLean, VA, home to the CIA. That job sounds like a combination of programming and lobbying. The description: “we introduce and explain Palantir to smart and powerful people – politicians, journalists, leading researchers, influential bloggers, government types, and business leaders in Washington and beyond.” If I were 20 years old and knew my way around Python and Java, I might want to apply.
Second on the list is VMWare, the cloud computing pioneer, also based in Palo Alto. The reported monthly internship salary there is also $7,000 ($6,966 to be precise, compared to Palantir’s $7,012, but I’m rounding for this story). There are some 50 open internships on the company site. Most have demanding requirements, like computer science degrees and skills with technologies that are totally unfamiliar to humanities majors like me (JQuery, JQuery UI, Bootstrap). VMware is a global employer, with internship jobs in Bangalore, Israel, Paris, Sao Paulo the U.K. and Ireland, as well as on its Palo Alto campus.
In third place: Twitter, in San Francisco, which reportedly pays $6,800 a month. In all, 19 of the top-25-highest-paying firms are technology companies, including, not surprisingly, Microsoft Microsoft. eBay, Google, Apple Apple and Yahoo Yahoo. There are four oil and gas companies on the list, ExxonMobil, which pays the most, at $6,000 a month, Chevron Chevron at $5,400, ConcoPhillips, also at $5,400 and Schlumberger at $4,600. But the oil and gas companies have slipped in their positions on the list in the last year, when ExxonMobil was No. 1 at $6,500, and ConocoPhillips was No. 5 at $5,800. This year there only two financial firms make the top 25, BlackRock, which pays $5,100 a month and Capital One, which pays $4,900.
For the complete list of 25 companies, see our slide show above.
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