The High School Careers Study

28 May 2019

Millennial Branding and Release First Ever Study on High School Careers

50% of companies are creating high school internship programs this year
and high school students are now more career focused than college students.

Boston, MA – February 3, 2014 – Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm and, the world’s largest internship marketplace, today announced a groundbreaking new study called “High School Careers“. The study shows the importance of career development activities, such as internships and volunteering, for high school students who want to get into better colleges and find future employment. From both the student and corporate perspectives, the study examines why students are focused on their careers, what professional activities they are participating in, their entrepreneurial ambitions, and how they search for internships. It also discusses the criteria that companies are using when recruiting and the importance of high school internships when it comes to college admissions and employment. A total of 4,769 students (172 high school students and 4,597 college students) and 326 employers from across the country were surveyed on January 16th, 2014.

Half of employers are either currently accepting applications from high school students for internships or plan to this year, and nearly half of high school students are participating in internships for the purpose of advancing themselves professionally in high school. 60% of companies agree that students will need to begin to focus on their careers in high school in order to compete for internships and jobs in the future. 90% of companies agree that high school internship programs can help students get into better colleges, 89% say they’ll have a competitive advantage when looking for a college internship or full-time job, and 83% said those internships will yield better paying jobs.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Parents are pushing their children to focus on careers during high school but they aren’t helping them out. 55% of high school students (57% of college students) say that their parents are putting pressure on them to gain professional experience during high school and 42% (30% of college students) say they are under pressure because of the economy. 54% of high school parents, and 52% of college parents, haven’t helped their children get work experience during high school.
  • High school students are more willing to volunteer than college students. 77% of high school students are either extremely or very interested in volunteering to gain work experience compared to 63% of college students.
  • High school students are more entrepreneurial than college students. 72% of high school students and 64% of college students want to start a business someday. 61% of high school students and 43% of college students would rather be an entrepreneur instead of an employee when they graduate college.
  • The top three things that high school students are looking to get out of internships are new skills (92%), work experience (81%) and mentorship/networking (72%). The top three things that college students are looking to get out of internships are work experience (89%), new skills (85%) and job offers (72%).
  • The top qualities that companies are looking for when recruiting high school students are their interview performance (50%), a high academic performance (41%) and references (36%). Half of employers say that the reputation of the high school matters when recruiting students for their programs.
  • The top reasons why companies are offering high school internships are to support local high schools (46%), gain new ideas (23%) and to find future college interns (18%).
  • High school internship programs center around social media. 73% of high school internships focus around social media marketing projects, following by data entry (41%) and admin work (36%).
  • Companies surveyed say that high school internships turn into college internships and jobs. 70% of companies say that high school students who complete their programs are either very or completely likely to eventually land a college internship with their company. 45% that high school internships will very likely or completely likely turn into a full time job at their company.


“In today’s economy, students have to start building their careers in high school in order to better compete in the college admissions process, for college internships and eventually full-time jobs. Employers who offer high school internships will build brand awareness early, fill up their talent pipelines and be able to remain competitive in their marketplace.”

– Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding & New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success

“High school internships are a win-win for both employers and students,” said Robin D. Richards, Chairman and CEO of  “For students, work experience is the key to ensure they make a good career decision and build their professional network.  By employing students, companies get exposure to talent early in their career journey and help support the well being of the local community.”

– Robin D. Richards, CEO,

“Maximizing Return On Education for students requires not only a school recommendation engine that incorporates personalization, predictive modeling, and specific economic projections for graduates, but also a clear path to connecting that personalization and matching process to summer jobs and internships.  The sooner that students can leverage employment opportunities related to their field of study, the more likely they will be to complete their degree and find a relevant career opportunity post graduation.  This tailored matching activity throughout the higher education lifecycle will also optimize their student loan payback – a major hurdle to overcome on their life path post completion.”

– Brad McMahon, the SVP of Business and Product Development at +U, an Partner


Millennial Branding: Dan Schawbel, [email protected] Yair Riemer, [email protected]

About Millennial Branding:

Millennial Branding is a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in Boston, Mass. Millennial Branding helps companies understand the emerging Gen Y employee by providing research, training, and advisory services. As representatives of Gen Y and advisers to management, our goal is to provide research and insights that will make you more profitable, grow your market share, help you understand your Gen Y employees, and turn you into an industry leader. As ambassadors to Gen Y, we want to give our generation a voice, support their careers, and connect them with brands that understand their needs.

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