Internships are a common phase of work that many students go through in order to gain work experience. They can be full-time or part-time interns, with hours determined based on the needs of the company. Depending on the industry and size of the company, work can range from the menial and administrative to large-scale project management.
However, one similarity between all interns is that they tend to be lowly paid for the work that they do compared to full-time staff. According to Adecco, allowances for interns can range from SGD$600 to SGD$1,000 per month, but this differs greatly from situation to situation.
Let’s break down some average internship pay by industry:
When it comes to earning above the average intern for a vacation gig, investment banks are the gold standard. Interns for investment banks can earn up to SGD$10k per month, especially when they work in sales or other front-office roles.
According to a 2017 Singapore Business Review article, interns for international investment banks such as Nomura, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs earn between S$9k to S$10k a month. Mid-office interns earn less than investment banking interns, earning about S$4k every month. For Asian-centric banks, intern pay can go up to S$3k.
However, if you’re thinking that this charmed life extends to the actual work, an article from The Straits Times begs to differ. In the article, interns speak about working 14 hour days from 6.30am – 9pm as the norm, and even more when it comes to peak trading periods, in order to keep their internships and hopefully get converted to a full-time staff.
Hospitality is a huge industry, and includes different sectors such as Food & Beverage (F&B), Hotels, Travel,Tourism, and Front Office. Internship pay differs across these different departments, so it’s possible for monthly salary to range from S$700 to SS1,300.
Most engineering interns tend to be recent university graduates, or need to be currently enrolled in an engineering diploma or degree in order to considered. Average pay is around S$900 per month as per Pay Scale, and that can include routine tasks such as running validity checks. Of course, for specialised roles that require specific expertise, intern pay can go much higher, up to S$4k per month.
It’s tough to tell how much interns in the retail industry earn, as there are more part-timers than interns in the retail industry. And, considering that average pay is on the low end of the scale at S$500 per month, it isn’t hard to understand why many students would rather choose to work part-time instead.
However, Singapore has been fast-tracking internships for retail students, as covered in HR in Asia back in 2016. With that plan in mind, we would expect more retail internships to be released to students who want to gain experience in the sector.
Technology is one of the most exciting industries to watch, as there are many tech start-ups that provide new solutions to old problems. However, this means that there can be a wide range when it comes to how much interns are paid; some early stage start-ups cannot afford to pay interns much, while others are rapidly hiring interns in the hopes of converting them to full-time staff.
At the same time, there are more established companies such as Oracle and Salesforce who can afford to pay interns better than the average. There hence isn’t a known average, but intern salary can range from S$800 to S$1,300 a month, according to Glassdoor.
Regardless of the industry, it is important to remember that interviews and screening processes will always be in place to ensure a good job fit for the role. Applying for these internships can be a tiring process; in-demand roles that pay above average can result in four to five rounds of screening and interviews, from psychometric and personality tests to phone interviews with HR and face-to-face interviews with senior management.
In the end, internships are about ensuring that both the company and the student come away richer for it, with the latter getting important (and relevant) learning experience that students can then use to procure a job that they will be able to excel in.